The simplified Bernoulli relationship appears to be quite accurate for predicting gradients across discrete valvular obstructions. Controversy exists about how accurately it predicts severity of disease in longer segment obstructions. In this study we constructed a pulsatile model of subvalvular pulmonary stenosis in vitro to study nine custom-made subvalvular tunnels 2, 4, and 7 mm in length with flow across sections of 0.5 to 1.5 cm2 and with the stenotic segment proximal to a nonstenotic bioprosthetic valve, and a pulsatile model in vitro of a 16 mm long tunnel-like ventricular septal defect (VSD) of varying cross-sectional area (.020 to 0.64 cm2). We also compared the observations in vitro with those in an open-chest dog preparation with a tunnel-like interventricular communication. In the subpulmonic stenosis model, for each individual tunnel, 10 instantaneous peak gradients between 15 to 105 mm Hg are available. The pressure gradients across the tunnel alone, measured in the subvalvular area, were consistently higher than the measured gradients across the tunnel plus valve, suggesting some relaminerization of flow (i.e., a decrease in velocity) and pressure recovery (i.e., an increase in pressure) distal to the obstruction. Continuous-wave Doppler velocities across the 4 and 7 mm tunnels for the highest gradients were slightly lower than for the 2 mm tunnel at the same gradients, and it was only for the 0.5 cm2 cross section, and 4 and 7 mm tunnels that there was a suggestion of minor viscous energy loss. For all the subvalvular tunnels studied, the Bernoulli relationship accurately predicted the results of the pressure drop across the tunnel only, while the gradient across tunnel plus valve was consistently lower. For the VSD tunnel model in vitro, the Doppler-derived gradients were approximately 40% higher than the measured gradients. The findings for the subvalvular and VSD tunnels in vitro and similar findings in the open-chest dogs with VSD suggest that relaminarization of flow and recovery of pressure occurred distal to the tunnel orifice, whereas continuous-wave Doppler findings correlate with the highest instantaneous gradients measured in the lowest pressure areas at the vena contracta of the tunnel.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)