Ventricular mechanics in diastole: material parameter sensitivity.

Models of ventricular mechanics have been developed over the last 20 years to include finite deformation theory, anisotropic and inhomogeneous material properties and an accurate representation of ventricular geometry. As computer performance and the computational efficiency of the models improve, clinical application of these heart mechanics models is becoming feasible. One such application is to estimate myocardial material properties by adjusting the constitutive parameters to match wall deformation from MRI or ultrasound measurements, together with a measurement (or estimate) of ventricular pressure. Pigs are now the principal large animal model for these studies and in this paper we present the development of a new three-dimensional finite element model of the heart based on measurements of the geometry and the fibre and sheet orientations of pig hearts. The end-diastolic deformation of the model is computed using the "pole-zero" constitutive law which we have previously used to model the mechanics of passive myocardial tissue specimens. The sensitivities of end-diastolic fibre-sheet material strains and heart shape to changes in the material parameters are computed for the parameters of the pole-zero law in order to assess the utility of the models for inverse material property determination.

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