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Engineers Find Thinner Tissues in Replacement Heart Valves Create Problematic Flutter

News Service • Iowa State University

Photo: Ming-Chen Hsu

You're in the middle of the aorta, the body's pipeline for oxygen-rich blood, looking back toward the heart's primary pump, the left ventricle.

The ventricle muscle contracts and the aortic heart valve's three leaflets explode open and blood flows by at up to 200 centimeters a second. And what's this?

Those three leaflets are flapping in the flow - fluttering, in engineering terms. That's a problem. It could lead to leaflet tearing, calcium deposits, fatigue failure, even damage to the blood flowing by.

We have an eyewitness look, from a ...