As a result of the durability problems associated with the first Abrams-Lucas mitral valve, a redesigned model has recently been introduced into limited clinical trials. The new valve was subjected to in-vitro pulsatile flow studies, and measurements were made of mean diastolic pressure gradient and volume of reflux on closure. Similar measurements were made on other mitral valve prostheses of comparable size. High-speed cinematography was used to analyse the motion of the occluder during the simulated cardiac cycle, and the flow patterns produced by the valve in the model ventricular cavity were observed and photographed. The pressure gradient of the Abrams-Lucas valve was significantly lower than that of the 29 mm Björk-Shiley valve and all other prostheses tested, but its reflux level was higher at 12 ml per stroke. The valve opened and closed smoothly and the flow visualisation study revealed that the valve produced a large vortex or swirl in the model ventricular cavity.
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