A computational, three-dimensional coupled fluid-structure dynamics model was developed for a generic pericardial aortic valve in a rigid aortic root graft with physiologic sinuses. Valve geometry was based on that of the natural valve. Blood flow was modeled as pulsatile, laminar, Newtonian, incompressible flow. The structural model accounted for material and geometric nonlinearities and also simulated leaflet coaptation. A body fitted grid was used to subdivide the flow domain into computational finite volume cells. Shell finite elements were used to discretize the leaflet volume. A finite volume computational fluid dynamics code and finite element structure dynamics code were used to solve the flow and structure equations, respectively. The fluid flow and structural equations were coupled using an implicit “influence coefficient” technique. Physiologic ventricular and aortic pressure waveforms were prescribed as the flow boundary conditions. The aortic flow field, valve structural configuration, and leaflet stresses were computed at 2 msec intervals. Model predictions on aortic flow and transient variation in valve orifice area were in close agreement with corresponding experimental in vitro data. These findings suggest that the computer model has potential for being a powerful design tool for bioprosthetic aortic valves. ASAIO Journal 1997; 43:M387-M392.
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