One of the most important fluid phenomena observed in the left ventricle during diastole is the presence of vortex rings that develop with a strong jet entering through the mitral valve. The present study is focused on the rapid filling phase of diastole, during which the left ventricle expands and receives blood through the fully open mitral valve. The atrioventricular system during the rapid filling phase was emulated experimentally with a simplified mechanical model in which the relevant pressure decay and the dimension of mitral annulus approximate the physiologic and pathologic values. Digital particle image velocimetry measurements were correlated with the force measurements on the mitral annulus plane to analyze the relation between flow and the mitral annulus motion. The recoil force on the displaced annulus plane was computed on the basis of plane acceleration and plane velocity and correlated with the inflow jet. Measurements of the recoil force for different values of the mitral annulus diameter showed that the recoil force was generated during fluid propulsion and that it is maximal for an annulus diameter close to the normal adult value in a healthy left ventricle. We also tested annulus diameters smaller and larger than the normal one. The smaller annulus corresponds to the stenotic valves and the larger annulus exists in dilated cardiomyopathy cases. In both conditions, the recoil force was found to be smaller than in the normal case. These observations are consistent with the previously reported results for dilated cardiomyopathy and mitral stenosis clinical conditions.
From the *Cardiovascular and Biofluid Dynamics Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California; and the †Graduate Aeronautical Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.
Submitted for consideration May 2006; accepted for publication in revised form July 2006.
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