Computational fluid dynamics study of a protruded-hinge bileaflet mechanical heart valve

J. Wang, H. Yao, C. J. Lim, Y. Zhao, T. J H Yeo, N. H C Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aim of the study: Following clinical experience with the Medtronic ParallelTM bileaflet mechanical heart valve, considerable interest has been shown in investigating fluid mechanics inside the hinge socket. Most of these studies involved hinges that are recessed into the valve housing, such as the St. Jude Medical (SJM), CarboMedics, Sorin and On-X® bileaflet mechanical heart valves. The aim of this study was to investigate the flow fields of a protruded hinge under steady flow conditions, with the occluder in its fully open position. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation using the Fluent 4.4.7 commercial solver was applied in this investigation. This protruded hinge mechanism for pivoting the occluder is an in-house design from the Cardiovascular Dynamics Laboratory, Nanyang Technological University. Methods: The Fluent 4.4.7 code was run on a Silicon Graphic Inc. computer (4-CPU×185MHz) in the CFD simulation. A body-fitted coordinates (BFC) grid was generated to cover the entire valvular flow domain, including the interior of the hinge and leaflet. Clearance between the leaflet and pivot housing was 50-70 μm. In the vicinity of the protruded hinge, mesh cells were small compared with hinge dimensions. A power law distribution of grid points was applied to optimize the number of cells used to cluster the entire flow field. The overall computational flow domain of the valve channel, including the floating leaflet and immersed hinge, was Ο170,000 cells in total. Inside the hinge socket, Ο10,000 cells were generated. A comparative model with recessed hinge that resembled the SJM valve hinge design was modeled. Due to geometric difficulties, an unstructured grid scheme was applied. Great attention was focused within the hinge pocket, in particular to the clearance between the hinge pivot and leaflet. A total of 2 million cells was generated for the whole computational flow domain. Results: Under steady flow conditions, with the leaflet fixed in an open position, the protruded hinge design yielded a pair of small vortices that formed behind the stoppers. A low-magnitude velocity was observed inside the hinge clearance. Vortices developed behind the protruded stopper. Migrating flow was noted beneath the leaflet clearance as a result of pressure difference across the leaflet. For the recessed hinge design, reverse flow dominated the inside of the hinge socket, and developed into a pair of vortices at high Reynolds number. Conclusion: The protruded hinge mechanism was designed to expose the overall hinge region to the mainstream flow for a positive washing effect. Flow in this protruded hinge design is, in general, found to be three-dimensional. Initial results under steady flow conditions showed low laminar and turbulent shear stress, while the hinge clearance was well washed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-263
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Heart Valve Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 10 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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