3-D Nonlinear Hyper-elastic FEA Models of Heart Valve Leaflets

The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of material properties and stress distributions on heart valve leaflets. Methods: Models of the aortic valve and aortic root were created in ANSYS with FLOTRAN for computational simulations. The tissue model was created using a nonlinear hyper-elastic material. The effects of isotropic vs. orthotropic materials were studied. Results: The stress distribution in this model corresponded to distribution of calcium in valve stenosis. The simulated motion of valve models corresponded well with observations of physical valve motion. Conclusions: These modeling techniques are very useful in the study of both degenerative valve disease and failure of prostheses. Stress distributions in the model corresponded to the distribution of calcium in degenerative aortic stenosis. These findings would allow us to optimize features, geometries and materials of prostheses which lead to reduced stresses and valve disease.
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