A mathematical description of cardiac anatomy is presented for use with finite element models of the electrical activation and mechanical function of the heart. The geometry of the heart is given in terms of prolate spheroidal coordinates defined at the nodes of a finite element mesh and interpolated within elements by a combination of linear Lagrange and cubic Hermite basis functions. Cardiac microstructure is assumed to have three axes of symmetry: one aligned with the muscle fiber orientation (the fiber axis); a second set orthogonal to the fiber direction and lying in the newly identified myocardial sheet plane (the sheet axis); and a third set orthogonal to the first two, in the sheet-normal direction. The geometry, fiber-axis direction, and sheet-axis direction of a dog heart are fitted with parameters defined at the nodes of the finite element mesh. The fiber and sheet orientation parameters are defined with respect to the ventricular geometry such that 1) they can be applied to any heart of known dimensions, and 2) they can be used for the same heart at various states of deformation, as is needed, for example, in continuum models of ventricular contraction.
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