Helical flows and asymmetry of blood jet in dilated ascending aorta with normally functioning bicuspid valve
Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is associated with aortic dilatation and aneurysm. Several studies evidenced an eccentric systolic flow in ascending aorta associated with increased wall shear stresses (WSS) and the occurrence of an helical systolic flow. This study seeks to elucidate the connections between jet asymmetry and helical flow in patients with normally functioning BAV and dilated ascending aorta. We performed a computational parametric study by varying, for a patient-specific geometry, the valve area and the flow rate entering the aorta and drawing also a tricuspid valve (TAV). We considered also phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging of four BAV and TAV patients. Measurement of normalized flow asymmetry index, systolic WSS and of a new index (positive helix fraction, PHF) quantifying the presence of a single a single helical flow were performed. In our computation, BAV cases featured higher values of all indices with respect to TAV in both numerical and imaged-based results. Moreover, all indices increased with decreasing valve area and/or with increasing flow rate. This allowed to separate the BAV and TAV cases with respect to the jet asymmetry, WSS localization and helical flow. Interestingly, these results were obtained without modeling the leaflets.