A mechanical analysis of the closed Hancock heart valve prosthesis

E.P.M. Rousseau, A.A. Steenhoven, van, J.D. Janssen, H.A. Huysmans

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In order to obtain mechanical specifications for the design of an artificial leaflet valve prosthesis, a geometrically non-linear numerical model is developed of a closed Hancock leaflet valve prosthesis. In this model, the fibre reinforcement of the leaflet and the viscoelastic properties of frame and leaflets are incorporated. The calculations are primarily restricted to part of the valve and a time varying pressure load is applied. The calculations are verified experimentally by measuring the commissure displacements and leaflet centre displacement of a Hancock valve. The numerically obtained commissure displacements are found to be linearly dependent on the pressure load, and the slope of the curves is hardly dependent on loading type and loading velocity. Experimentally a difference is found between the three commissure displacements, which is also predicted numerically using a simplified asymmetric total valve model. Besides, experimentally a clear dependency of commissure displacements on frame size is found. For the leaflet centre displacement, a qualitative agreement exists between numerical prediction and experimental result, although the numerical predicted values are systematically higher. The numerically obtained stress distributions revealed that the maximum von Mises intensity in the membranes occurs in the vivinity of the commissure in the free leaflet area (0.2 N mm-2). Wrinkling of the membranes may occur in the coaptation area near the leaflet suspension. The maximum fibre stress is found near the aortic ring in the fibres which form the boundaries of the coaptation area (0.64 N mm-2). These locations seem to correlate with some common regions of tissue valve failure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-562
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1988


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