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A short history of the development of mathematical models of cardiac mechanics

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Steven A. Niederer, Kenneth S. Campbell, Stuart G. Campbell

Original languageEnglish
Article number127
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


King's Authors


Cardiac mechanics plays a crucial role in atrial and ventricular function, in the regulation of growth and remodelling, in the progression of disease, and the response to treatment. The spatial scale of the critical mechanisms ranges from nm (molecules) to cm (hearts) with the fastest events occurring in milliseconds (molecular events) and the slowest requiring months (growth and remodelling). Due to its complexity and importance, cardiac mechanics has been studied extensively both experimentally and through mathematical models and simulation. Models of cardiac mechanics evolved from seminal studies in skeletal muscle, and developed into cardiac specific, species specific, human specific and finally patient specific calculations. These models provide a formal framework to link multiple experimental assays recorded over nearly 100years into a single unified representation of cardiac function. This review first provides a summary of the proteins, physiology and anatomy involved in the generation of cardiac pump function. We then describe the evolution of models of cardiac mechanics starting with the early theoretical frameworks describing the link between sarcomeres and muscle contraction, transitioning through myosin-level models to calcium-driven systems, and ending with whole heart patient-specific models.

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