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Crit Rev Biomed Eng. 1992;20(5-6):427-49.

Large-scale finite element analysis of the beating heart.

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Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla.


The regional mechanics of the beating heart are directly related to factors such as ventricular pumping performance, coronary blood flow, myocardial energetics and oxygen consumption, vulnerability to ischemia and injury, hypertrophy and remodeling, and arrhythmogenesis. Important characteristics include: the complex three-dimensional geometry and fibrous architecture; the nonlinear, nonhomogeneous, anisotropic material properties of the myocardium; the hierarchical collagen connective tissue matrix; the time- and history-dependent active tension development of the cardiac muscle cells; and the three-dimensional anisotropic patterns of cardiac impulse propagation. To model these features realistically requires large-scale computational analysis with sophisticated numerical methods. As described in the chapter by Dr. Hunter and colleagues, an accurate three-dimensional finite element model has been developed to describe the geometry, fiber architecture, and extracellular matrix structure of the heart. The model is based on extensive anatomical measurements in the left and right ventricles (LV and RV) of the canine heart. In this chapter, we illustrate some new approaches to the special problems of large-scale finite element modeling in biomechanics using examples from the analysis of stress and electrical activation in the heart. Prospects for further progress--particularly in coupled problems such as cardiac electromechanics--are examined in light of new developments in high-performance computing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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