Mitral Valve Simulations / Mitral Valve Repair Simulations

The Mitral valve is a crucial part of the heart and is located between the left atrium and left ventricle. Its job is to allow the unidirectional flow of the blood from the atrium to the ventricle by opening when the atrium squeezes and closing tightly when the left ventricle contracts. Some of the most common complications with the mitral valve include mitral valve regurgitation and stenosis. In mitral valve regurgitation, the leaflets of the mitral valve prolapse and do not close tightly, thus allowing blood to flow in the wrong direction (left ventricle to left atrium) during systole. In mitral valve stenosis, the mitral valve’s leaflets become too stiff or thick, which manifests into the narrowed valve opening. Due to this narrowed opening, the blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle is significantly reduced. Some of the common complications that are associated with mitral valve regurgitation and stenosis include atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythms), elevated blood pressure, and, if left untreated, total and fatal heart failure.

Once such complications become symptomatic, the doctors typically perform mitral valve surgery either to repair or replace the diseased mitral valve with a bio-prosthetic valve. While planning for such surgeries, physicians typically rely on data and observation made using echocardiography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. However, such techniques cannot predict the risk of developing post-surgical complications such as device failure.

One of the most effective ways of predicting post-surgical mitral valve complications’ is through clinically realistic simulations. This is why, mitral valve repair simulations are often fluid-structure interaction (FSI) simulations. In early studies or simplified cases, only the implant and the mitral valve would be taken into account, in a simplified flow channel. In more advanced studies, the whole or half heart is added to these simulations to achieve most realistic simulation scenarios.

Such FSI simulations can be performed during the surgical planning phase to compare the hemodynamic efficacy of different devices and pick the one with the best overall performance, as decided by the physicians. This approach will also allow the physicians to offer personalized medical care to patients suffering from mitral valve problems on an individual basis.

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