Detecting broken struts of a Björk-Shiley heart valve using ultrasound: A feasibility study

P.L.M.J. van Neer, A. Bouakaz, E. Vlaanderen, J. de Hart, F.N. van de Vosse, A.F.W. van der Steen, N. de Jong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Björk-Shiley (BScc) mechanical heart valve has extensively been used in surgery from 1979 to 1986. There is, compared with equivalent valve types, increased occurrence of unexpected mechanical failure of the outlet strut of the valve, with a high incidence of mortality, when it occurs. Many approaches have been attempted to noninvasively determine BScc valve integrity. None of the approaches resulted in adequate assessment, mostly due to a lack of either sensitivity or specificity demonstrated in in vitro and/or in vivo studies. In our study we analyze leg movement of the BScc valves outlet strut during the cardiac cycle with ultrasound. For a broken strut, the movement of both legs will be significantly different, whereas the difference will be negligible for an intact strut. BScc valves were mounted in the mitral position in an in vitro pulse duplicator system. A focused single-element transducer was used to direct ultrasound on a leg of the outlet strut. Correlation-based time delay estimation was used to estimate differences in time of flight of the outlet strut echoes to determine outlet strut leg movement. The movement of an intact valve and a valve with a single-leg fracture with both ends grating against each other (SLF), the most difficult fracture to diagnose, has been studied. The results showed no significant difference in movement between both legs of the outlet strut of the intact BScc valve (amplitude of movement 9.2 μm ± 0.1 μm). Whereas for the defective valve, the amplitude of movement of the broken leg of the SLF valve was 12 μm ± 1.6 μm vs. 8.6 μm ± 0.1 μm for the intact leg. In conclusion, the proposed method has shown to be feasible in vitro and has potentials for in vivo detection of BScc valve outlet strut fracture. (E-mail:

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-512
Number of pages10
JournalUltrasound in medicine and biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


  • Björk-Shiley valve
  • BScc valve
  • Correlation
  • Displacement
  • Outlet strut
  • Time delay estimation
  • Ultrasound
  • n/a OA procedure


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