Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Gerald Miller


Valvular heart disease (VHD) continues to have significant effects on many people’s lives, with numbers expected to grow tremendously over the next few years. Individuals suffering from severe valvular heart disease usually require a heart valve transplant in order to restore the native valve’s vital unidirectional flow regulation. Therefore, artificial heart valve (AHV) research is of very high importance. Previous research studies have provided substantial input in the realm of AHV design relative to durability, thrombotic and hemolytic potential, and overall functionality. However, modifications continue to be warranted due to limitations in the accuracy and time efficiency of the in vitro physiological flow replication process. The objective of this investigation is to develop and analyze a method of AHV performance evaluation using a novel test chamber within an automated mock circulatory loop. The constructed mock loop was designed to maintain consistency of current industrial and academic research systems while providing innovative loop component control that allows for run-time changes and performance screening to various physiological conditions. Pressure sensors, ultrasonic flow meter, process controls and mechanical feedback sensors are managed via Labview in order to provide sufficient real-time performance analysis during system operation. In addition, a unique mechanical heart valve (MHV) test chamber was constructed to incorporate the test AHV in the mock loop flow path. This research exposes a test tilting disk MHV to a series of 12 heart rate and stroke volume combinations so as to evaluate the system’s effectiveness in pathological condition replication with respect to AHV design research. A Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) system was utilized to illuminate particles in the flow field and obtain representative vector plots. Results of this study validate the combined experimental test chamber and automated mock circulatory loop as a viable MHV performance evaluation system by using real-time pressure and flow data to analyze system fluid dynamics at the MHV test site. Consequently, the use of this arrangement in MHV performance analysis greatly improves upon time restraints and accuracy concerns associated with currently used manually controlled setups.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2010