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Developing a cardiac mechanics analysis framework using shell finite elements

Wong, Y. Y. (2019). Developing a cardiac mechanics analysis framework using shell finite elements. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Cardiovascular disease is the largest cause of sickness and premature death. Invivo cardiac experimental studies are possible, but are obviously invasive. As an alternative, one could undertake a numerical simulation of a (virtual) beating heart. Current numerical simulations require an enormous amount of computational power (up to 17 hours on a 300,000 core supercomputer for a 1.5s heart beat). These simulations are usually carried out by making use of tetrahedral finite element meshes. The codes used for these simulations are invariably kept within the company that created them and this hinders the wider community from contributing to further development.

This document reports on the creation of a novel open source Total Lagrangian geometrically non-linear degenerated 9-noded shell-based finite element analysis capability (that is, a new computer code written in MATLAB) to simulate the essence of the dynamic behaviour of a beating human heart. The cardiac muscles are modelled using a simplified Torrent-Guasp geometry. The mechanical model is coupled with the Aliev-Panfilov formulation to simulate the action potential sweeping across the heart, resulting in the muscle contraction. This document provides the background to the physiology of the heart and both describes the theory and algorithms used to create the model.

The code produced demonstrated the ability to duplicate the key trends observed in cardiac behaviour. All the MATLAB scripts used in this work are available for download on This numerical model allows additional analyses and modification to be carried out by the wider community.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > Engineering > Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautics
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