Mechanisms of mechanical heart valve cavitation: Investigation using a tilting disk valve model

Z. He, B. Xi, K. Zhu, N. H.C. Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background and aim of the study: The induction of mechanical heart valve (MHV) cavitation was investigated using a 27 mm Medtronic Hall (MH27) tilting disk valve. Methods: The MH27 valve was mounted in the mitral position of a simulating pulse flow system, and stroboscopic lighting used to visualize cavitation bubbles on the occluder inflow surface at the instant of valve closure. MHV cavitation was monitored using a digital camera with 0.04 mm/pixel resolution sufficient to render the tiny bubbles clearly visible on the computer monitor screen. Results: Cavitation on MH27 valve was classified as five types according to the time, site and shape of the cavitation bubbles. Valve cavitation occurred at the instant of occluder impact with the valve seat at closing. The impact motion was subdivided into three temporal phases: (i) squeezing flow; (ii) elastic collision; and (iii) leaflet rebound. MHV cavitation caused by vortices was found to be initiated by the squeezing jet and/or by the transvalvular leakage jets. By using a tension wave which swept across the occluder surface immediately upon elastic impact, nuclei in the vortex core were expanded to form cavitation bubbles. Conclusion: Analysis of the shape and location of the cavitation bubbles permitted a better understanding of MHV cavitation mechanisms, based on the fluid dynamics of jet vortex and tension wave propagations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-674
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Heart Valve Disease
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


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