The specific features of turbulent flow that are likely to be damaging to the blood cells and platelets are the stresses which are intrinsic to turbulence, known as Reynolds stresses. These include normal stresses as well as shear stresses. The purpose of this study is to determine the magnitude of the turbulent stresses that may occur during ejection in the vicinity of normal and diseased aortic valves near normal pulmonary valves. Both Reynolds normal stresses and Reynolds shear stresses were calculated from velocities obtained in vitro with a laser Doppler anemometer in the region of two severely stenotic and regurgitant human aortic valves. Reynolds normal stresses were also calculated from velocities obtained with a hot-film anemometer in 21 patients in the region of normal and diseased aortic valves. In seven of these patients, it was calculated in the region of the normal pulmonary valve. The Reynolds normal stress in patients with combined aortic stenosis and insufficiency was prominently higher than in patients with normal valves. In the former, the Reynolds normal stress during ejection transiently reached 18,000 dynes/cm2. This was in the range of the Reynolds normal stress observed in vitro. The Reynolds shear stress measured in vitro transiently reached 11,900 dynes/cm2 during ejection. Because the Reynolds normal stresses in the presence of the severely stenotic and regurgitant valves were comparable in vitro and in patients, it is likely that the Reynolds shear stress in patients is also comparable to values measured in vitro. These values were well above the stresses which, when sustained, have been shown to have a damaging effect upon blood cells and platelets.

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