Evaluation of a novel finite element model of active contraction in the heart

Xiaoyan Zhang, Zhan Qiu Liu, Kenneth S. Campbell, Jonathan F. Wenk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Finite element (FE) modeling is becoming a widely used approach for the investigation of global heart function. In the present study, a novel model of cellular-level systolic contraction, which includes both length- and velocity-dependence, was implemented into a 3D non-linear FE code. To validate this new FE implementation, an optimization procedure was used to determine the contractile parameters, associated with sarcomeric function, by comparing FE-predicted pressure and strain to experimental measures collected with magnetic resonance imaging and catheterization in the ventricles of five healthy rats. The pressure-volume relationship generated by the FE models matched well with the experimental data. Additionally, the regional distribution of end-systolic strains and circumferential-longitudinal shear angle exhibited good agreement with experimental results overall, with the main deviation occurring in the septal region. Moreover, the FE model predicted a heterogeneous distribution of sarcomere re-lengthening after ventricular ejection, which is consistent with previous in vivo studies. In conclusion, the new FE active contraction model was able to predict the global performance and regional mechanical behaviors of the LV during the entire cardiac cycle. By including more accurate cellular-level mechanisms, this model could provide a better representation of the LV and enhance cardiac research related to both systolic and diastolic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number425
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - Apr 23 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Zhang, Liu, Campbell and Wenk.


  • Cross-bridge kinetics
  • Left ventricle
  • Relaxation
  • Sarcomere lengthening
  • Velocity-dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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