The pressure-flow relations of large amplitude pulsatile water flows across an orifice have been investigated theoretically and experimentally. By retaining the unsteady term in the one-dimensional equation of motion, and by allowing the jet area to be a function of distance in the continuity equation, a lumped parameter relationship between pressure drop and flow has been developed which reflects the influence of inertia and dissipation. The results are applicable to the analysis of natural and prosthetic heart valves under normal and pathologic conditions. Within the physiologically possible conditions of frequency and flow rate, unsteady separated flows exhibit the same energy losses as comparable steady separated flows. Thus, the flow is quasi-steady, even when the waveforms and temporal relations indicate a significant inertial influence.

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