Projected fatigue life analyses are performed to estimate the endurance of a cardiac valve prosthesis under physiological environmental and mechanical conditions. The analyses are conducted using both the classical stress-strain/life and the fracture mechanics-based damage-tolerant approaches, and provide estimates of expected life in terms of initial flaw sizes which may pre-exist in the metal prior to the valve entering service. The damage-tolerant analysis further is supplemented by consideration of the question of “short cracks,” which represents a developing area in metal fatigue research, not commonly applied to data in standard engineering design practice.

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