Aortic valve morphology influences regurgitant volume in aortic regurgitation: In vivo evaluation

Paul A. Grayburn, Eric J. Eichhorn, Robert C. Eberhart, John B. Bedotto, M. Elizabeth Brickner, Anne L. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Study objective - According to the Gorlin hydraulic orifice equation, aortic regurgitation volume can be determined by the regurgitant orifice cross sectional area, diastolic filling period, mean pressure gradient between the aorta and left ventricle, and a constant relating the coefficients of contraction (Cc) and velocity (Cv). This study was performed to determine whether variation in aortic valve morphology affects regurgitant flow volume, Cc and Cv.Design - Four aortic valve templates, modelled after circular, rheumatic, degenerative, and bicuspid lesions, were constructed with equal orifice cross sectional areas in two sizes, 0.2 and 0.7 cm2. These valves were studied in vitro in a flow model of aortic regurgitation, wherein aortic pressure was regulated by varying the height of a column of fluid. Flow, pressure, and velocity were measured, and the coefficient Cc and Cv were calculated from standard equations.Measurements and main results - Regurgitant volume was assessed at diastolic filling periods of 0.5 and 1.0 s and averaged 15% greater for bicuspid and degenerative as compared to circular or rheumatic valve shapes (p=0.0001). This difference was accentuated at the shorter diastolic filling time and higher pressure gradient, such that bicuspid lesions allowed 29% more regurgitant flow across the 0.2 cm2 orifice at fluid height of 120 cm over 0.5 s. This difference in regurgitant volume between valve shapes was due to an increased Cc for the bicuspid and degenerative valve shapes, suggesting that they are more efficient orifices than rheumatic or circular valve shapes.Conclusions - Aortic valve morphology influences regurgitant volume in aortic regurgitation. Specifically, degenerative and bicuspid orifice shapes have a higher contraction coefficient and allow more regurgitant flow than rheumatic or circular orifices at a given driving pressure and diastolic filling time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-79
Number of pages7
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991


  • Aortic insufficiency
  • Aortic valve morphology
  • Blood flow velocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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