DOI: 10.1063/5.0170583 ISSN: 2473-2877

Altered blood flow due to larger aortic diameters in patients with transcatheter heart valve thrombosis

Silje Ekroll Jahren, Caglayan Demirel, Karoline-Marie Bornemann, Pascal Corso, Stefan Stortecky, Dominik Obrist
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering

The etiology of transcatheter heart valve thrombosis (THVT) and the relevance of the aortic root geometry on the occurrence of THVT are largely unknown. The first aim of this pilot study is to identify differences in aortic root geometry between THVT patients and patients without THVT after transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). Second, we aim to investigate how the observed difference in aortic diameters affects the aortic flow using idealized computational geometric models. Aortic dimension was assessed using pre-TAVI multi-detector computed tomography scans of eight patients with clinical apparent THVT and 16 unaffected patients (two for each THVT patient with same valve type and size) from the Bern-TAVI registry. Among patients with THVT the right coronary artery height was lower (−40%), and sinotubular junction (STJ) and ascending aorta (AAo) diameters tended to be larger (9% and 14%, respectively) compared to the unaffected patients. Fluid–structure interaction (FSI) in two idealized aortic models with the observed differences in STJ and AAo diameter showed higher backflow rate at the STJ (+16%), lower velocity magnitudes in the sinus (−5%), and higher systolic turbulent dissipation rate in the AAo (+8%) in the model with larger STJ and AAo diameters. This pilot study suggests a direct effect of the aortic dimensions on clinically apparent THVT. The FSI study indicates that larger STJ and AAo diameters potentially favor thrombus formation by increased backflow rate and reduced wash-out efficiency of the sinus. The reported observations require clinical validation but could potentially help identifying patients at risk for THVT.

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