At University of California, Los Angeles researchers have developed a computer model of a heart that can be used to study congestive heart failure and potential therapies for the disease. The simulation replicates how electrical signals are affected by changes within the cells and tissues of the heart, offering the opportunity to virtually try new compounds before testing them on animals and humans.
The model organ is copied off of a rabbit’s heart but it can be easily compared and verified against a real Homo sapiens heart. It replicates the minute biochemical activity going on inside the organ, including how changes in calcium, sodium, and potassium ions affects the rest of the organ.
From the study abstract in journal PLOS Computational Biology:
In this study, we use a multiscale approach to analyze a model of heart failure and connect its results to features of the electrocardiogram (ECG). The heart failure model is derived by modifying a previously validated electrophysiology model for a healthy rabbit heart. Specifically, in accordance with the heart failure literature, we modified the cell EP by changing both membrane currents and calcium handling. At the tissue level, we modeled the increased gap junction lateralization and lower conduction velocity due to downregulation of Connexin 43. At the biventricular level, we reduced the apex-to-base and transmural gradients of action potential duration (APD). The failing cell model was first validated by reproducing the longer action potential, slower and lower calcium transient, and earlier alternans characteristic of heart failure EP. Subsequently, we compared the electrical wave propagation in one dimensional cables of healthy and failing cells. The validated cell model was then used to simulate the EP of heart failure in an anatomically accurate biventricular rabbit model.PLOS Computational Biology:
Read more here: www.medgadget.com/2016/06/scientists-create-computer-model-of-electrical-activity-of-heart.html