Designing Safer Bioprosthetic Heart Valves

Ahmad Falahatpisheh’s research on bioprosthetic heart valves highlighted in Tecplot, Inc. case study

Ahmad Falahatpisheh, a mechanical and aerospace engineering Ph.D. student in the lab of Assistant Professor Arash Kheradvar, M.D., Ph.D., in The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology, is at the forefront of pioneering research to improve bioprosthetic heart valves (BHVs) and patients’ quality of life. The software company, Tecplot, Inc. featured Falahatpisheh’s research used as a case study on their website.

Falahatpisheh studies cardiac mechanics, cardiac devices and cardiac imaging at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine. His current research project is focused on the assessment of mechanical behavior and optimization of a bileaflet bioprosthetic mitral valve by using finite element analysis and digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV).

He has been assisting the development of the first bileaflet bioprosthetic mitral valve with a dynamic saddle annulus designed to mimic the natural mitral valve; and has been evaluating the BHVs assembled in an artificial heart flow simulator to examine the transvalvular flow with the aid of high-speed DPIV.

“The flow features through a prosthetic heart valve are very important,” said Falahatpisheh.  “It’s not only the solid design. You know you can test the valve with a fatigue test and determine that it will last a long time, but if you don’t get the correct flow features, it will affect the efficiency of the heart.”

DPIV research on heart valves assures physicians and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the heart valves to be implanted in a patient will operate safely and efficiently. To conduct his DPIV studies, Falahatpisheh illuminates fluorescent micro particles on the plane on which he is interested in gathering data. From there, he takes 1,000 images per second in order to visualize the flow field.

Falahatpisheh’s research to detect vortex abnormalities will assist heart valve research by designing novel heart valves that will hopefully last the patient’s lifetime and improve their quality of life.

The complete case study can be found on the Tecplot, Inc. website.