inHeart: In Silico Heart Failure - Tools for Accelerating Biomedical Research

Heart failure (HF) is a huge and growing health problem in the industrialized world, and is subject of considerable ongoing research. Computer simulations based on detailed biophysical models hold the promise to shed light on many important questions, and to provide a valuable supplement to traditional biomedical research. To this date such in silico models have been used to a very limited degree in HF research, and this is most likely due to the considerable challenges associated with performing accurate computer simulations of heart physiology and pathology. The purpose of this project is to address the most important of these challenges, and to considerably advancing the current state of the art in the field.

Specifically, we want to improve on the robustness and efficiency of the computational models. We aim to achieve this by developing new mathematical models for describing the contracting heart muscle tissue, and by improving the computational methods used to solve the resulting equations. Furthermore, we want to link the computational framework with software that enables efficient construction of models from medical images, to allow building computer models of individual patients. Patient specific models have a huge potential for clinical use in diagnosis and treatment optimization, but their use is currently limited by the lack of robust and usable computational tools, and by the lack of proper validation.

Final goal:

The main goal for the project is to accelerate heart failure research by facilitating the widespread use of accurate and validated computer models. The main delivery will be a package of robust and well documented software tools, that facilitate an efficient workflow from medical images and patient recordings to detailed computer simulations. The software will be based on the Fenics finite element framework, and will be distributed under an open license. The first official release is planned for 2015.

Funding source:

Research Council of Norway

All partners:

No formal partners, but Oslo University Hospital is an important collaborator.

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