[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
January 3, 1972

The Prosthetic Heart Valve and Computer Graphics

Author Affiliations

From the departments of surgery (Drs. Greenfield and Kolff) and computer science (Dr. Greenfield), University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

JAMA. 1972;219(1):69-74. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03190270041010

A digital computer has been used to study the pattern of blood flow around artificial heart valves so that better ones may be designed. The complicated equations associated with circulatory studies are competently handled, and the use of a display screen allows visual representation of the flow pattern through the valves. We have found that the ball-type heart valve has turbulent flow which is more evenly distributed about the occluder than the disk type. However, the former has greater vortex formation distal to the occluder. The same computer techniques applied to the study of branching vessels show vortex positioning at the exact sites of predilection for atherosclerotic plaque formation, thus providing further evidence that vorticity trauma to the intima contributes to the development of atherosclerosis.