Research Wins Best Basic Science Award

July 12, 2012
Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Research

The 23rd Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography was held at the Gaylord National in National Harbor, Maryland June 30 - July 3, 2012.

Mark McQuilling, Associate Professor of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering at SLUMark McQuilling, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering Aviation and Technology, Mark McQuilling, Ph.D. and SLU graduate student, Miranda Turlin collaborated with two researchers from Washington University in St. Louis on research titled, “Computational Fluid Dynamic Analysis of the Impact of Obtuse Leaflet Angulation on Isovelocity Surface Calculation of Orifice Area in Mitral Regurgitation.”

Robert Rifkin, Ph.D. a cardiologist and professor at the Washington University School of Medicine, presented their research at the conference and won the “Best Basic Science Award.”

The research explains how the mitral heart valve regulates the flow of blood from the lungs, where blood receives oxygen, to the heart, which pumps the oxygenated blood throughout the body. When the heart contracts, the mitral valve closes to prevent the oxygenated blood from returning back into the lungs.

In patients experiencing mitral regurgitation, the mitral valve leaks and blood flows back into the lungs as the heart contracts. The severity of the leak is determined through the following steps:

  1. Cardiologists use Echocardiography to measure blood flow velocities in the mitral valve as it leaks during heart contractions.
  2. The leaking valve area is then determined with the PISA method (proximal isovelocity surface area).
  3. Finally, the calculation of leaking blood volume is allowed once knowing the leaking valve area and the velocities of blood flowing through it.

“Our work focuses on evaluating the fluid dynamic assumptions inherent within the PISA method,” said McQuilling. “More specifically, we use computational fluid dynamics to evaluate the flow through simplified geometries representing mitral valve orifice conditions with various levels of mitral regurgitation. The simulation results are then compared against calculations made with the PISA method in order to determine what types of corrections, if any, should be applied to the PISA method to give a more accurate determination of regurgitant volume though the mitral valve.”


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