The hinge region of a mechanical bileaflet valve is implicated in blood damage and initiation of thrombus formation. Detailed fluid dynamic analysis in the complex geometry of the hinge region during the closing phase of the bileaflet valve is the focus of this study to understand the effect of fluid-induced stresses on the activation of platelets. A fixed-grid Cartesian mesh flow solver is used to simulate the blood flow through a two-dimensional geometry of the hinge region of a bileaflet mechanical valve. Use of local mesh refinement algorithm provides mesh adaptation based on the gradients of flow in the constricted geometry of the hinge. Leaflet motion is specified from the fluid-structure interaction analysis of the leaflet dynamics during the closing phase from a previous study, which focused on the fluid mechanics at the gap between the leaflet edges and the valve housing. A Lagrangian particle tracking method is used to model and track the platelets and to compute the magnitude of the shear stress on the platelets as they pass through the hinge region. Results show that there is a boundary layer separation in the gaps between the leaflet ear and the constricted hinge geometry. Separated shear layers roll up into vortical structures that lead to high residence times combined with exposure to high-shear stresses for particles in the hinge region. Particles are preferentially entrained into this recirculation zone, presenting the possibility of platelet activation, aggregation, and initiation of thrombi.
Two-Dimensional Simulation of Flow and Platelet Dynamics in the Hinge Region of a Mechanical Heart Valve
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Govindarajan, V., Udaykumar, H. S., and Chandran, K. B. (December 31, 2008). "Two-Dimensional Simulation of Flow and Platelet Dynamics in the Hinge Region of a Mechanical Heart Valve." ASME. J Biomech Eng. March 2009; 131(3): 031002. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.3005158
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