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J Biomech Eng. 2015 Oct;137(10):101010. doi: 10.1115/1.4031419.

Finite-Element Extrapolation of Myocardial Structure Alterations Across the Cardiac Cycle in Rats.


Myocardial microstructures are responsible for key aspects of cardiac mechanical function. Natural myocardial deformation across the cardiac cycle induces measurable structural alteration, which varies across disease states. Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT-MRI) has become the tool of choice for myocardial structural analysis. Yet, obtaining the comprehensive structural information of the whole organ, in 3D and time, for subject-specific examination is fundamentally limited by scan time. Therefore, subject-specific finite-element (FE) analysis of a group of rat hearts was implemented for extrapolating a set of initial DT-MRI to the rest of the cardiac cycle. The effect of material symmetry (isotropy, transverse isotropy, and orthotropy), structural input, and warping approach was observed by comparing simulated predictions against in vivo MRI displacement measurements and DT-MRI of an isolated heart preparation at relaxed, inflated, and contracture states. Overall, the results indicate that, while ventricular volume and circumferential strain are largely independent of the simulation strategy, structural alteration predictions are generally improved with the sophistication of the material model, which also enhances torsion and radial strain predictions. Moreover, whereas subject-specific transversely isotropic models produced the most accurate descriptions of fiber structural alterations, the orthotropic models best captured changes in sheet structure. These findings underscore the need for subject-specific input data, including structure, to extrapolate DT-MRI measurements across the cardiac cycle.

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