The distribution of pressure in normal and stenosed aortic valves is investigated experimentally with a rigid-walled model placed in a pulsatile water-tunnel, and the experiments are complemented by a one-dimensional solution of the unsteady inviscid-flow equations. In the normal valve, convectively fed vortices are formed in the aortic sinuses; the vortices aid cusp positioning and the prevention of jet formation during valve closure. Aortic valve stenosis is shown to prevent the generation of vortices, causing the formation of a turbulent jet, with reduction of the pressure difference between the inlets (ostia) of the coronary arteries and the ventricle. This pressure difference is calculated for man resting and exercising, and for various degrees of stenosis.
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