Despite half a century of use, mechanical heart valves still require further research to reduce the non-physiologic nature of the flow field, which is the source of potential medical complications, of which the most serious complication is thrombus formation [1]. In the systolic phase of the flow, excessive fluid stresses are generated by the non-physiologic flow patterns [2, 3]. In the closed valve position, a large pressure gradient is imposed across the device which leads to the generation of strong and damaging small-scale leakage flows that entrain platelets such that they are exposed to elevated stresses for excessive time durations [4–6].

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