Abstract

Blood-flow downstream of stenotic and healthy aortic valves exhibits intermittent random fluctuations in the velocity field which are associated with turbulence. Such flows warrant the use of computationally demanding scale-resolving models. The aim of this work was to compute and quantify this turbulent flow in healthy and stenotic heart valves for steady and pulsatile flow conditions. Large Eddy Simulations (LES) and Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulations were used to compute the flow field at inlet Reynolds numbers of 2700 and 5400 for valves with an opening area of 70 mm^2 and 175 mm^2, and their projected orifice-plate type counterparts. Power spectra, and turbulent kinetic energy were quantified on the centerline. Projected geometries exhibited an increased pressure-drop (>90%), and elevated turbulent kinetic energy levels (>150%). Turbulence production was an order of magnitude higher in stenotic heart valves compared to healthy valves. Pulsatile flow stabilizes flow in the acceleration phase, whereas onset of deceleration triggered (healthy valve) or amplified (stenotic valve) turbulence. Simplification of the aortic valve by projecting the orifice area should be avoided in computational fluid dynamics. RANS simulations may be used to predict the transvalvular pressure-drop, but scale-resolving models are recommended when detailed information of the flow field is required.

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