Advancing The Standard (ATS) Medical (ATS Medical Inc., Minneapolis, MN) is a new mechanical bileaflet valve, composed of pyrolitic carbon. The aim of this study was to define in a blinded manner the Doppler echocardiographic characteristics of normally functioning ATS Medical prostheses with respect to their size. Forty consecutive patients (29 men, mean age 58 +/- 13 years), clinically stable, and without evidence of valve dysfunction, were studied from 1993 to 1995. Doppler echocardiography was performed at least 3 months after valve replacement with ATS Medical valves (5 n degrees 21, 8 n degrees 23, 12 n degrees 25, 10 n degrees 27, 5 n degrees 29). Maximum and mean transprosthetic pressure gradients were calculated by the simplified Bernoulli equation. Functional valve surface area was assessed by the continuity equation using the external diameter of the prostheses to calculate the subaortic surface area. The Doppler velocity index was obtained by the ratio of subaortic and transaortic velocities and the performance index was calculated dividing the effective orifice area by the actual orifice area. For the most commonly used aortic valve (25 mm), the maximum pressure gradient was 17 +/- 8 mmHg, the mean gradient 11 +/- 4 mmHg, the functional surface area 2.2 +/- 0.4 cm2, the Doppler velocity index 0.44 +/- 0.07, and the performance index 0.68 +/- 0.11. This study provides the normal range for Doppler hemodynamic characteristics of the various sizes of the ATS valve.