Elevated turbulent shear stresses resulting from disturbed blood flow through prosthetic heart valves can cause damage to red blood cells and platelets. The purpose of this study was to measure the turbulent shear stresses occurring downstream of aortic prosthetic valves during in-vitro pulsatile flow. By matching the indices of refraction of the blood analog fluid and model aorta, correlated, simultaneous two-component laser velocimeter measurements of the axial and radial velocity components were made immediately downstream of two aortic prosthetic valves. Velocity data were ensemble averaged over 200 or more cycles for a 15-ms window opened at peak systolic flow. The systolic duration for cardiac flows of 8.4 L/min was 200 ms. Ensemble-averaged total shear stress levels of 2820 dynes/cm2 and 2070 dynes/cm2 were found downstream of a trileaflet valve and a tilting disk valve, respectively. These shear stress levels decreased with axial distance downstream much faster for the tilting disk valve than for the trileaflet valve.

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