Simulation of electrocardiograms in a computer model of the heart and torso

Atrial fibrillation is the most frequent rhythm disorder in humans (nearly 250,000 patients in Canada). It often leads to severe complications such as heart failure and stroke. Diagnosis of this arrhythmia is mainly performed through the inspection of electrical signal recordings (electrograms and electrocardiograms). To develop and validate new diagnostic tools, it is necessary to understand the link between what the cardiologist observes (these electrical signals) and what is going wrong in the heart (the underlying cardiac pathology).

In parallel with the dramatic increase in computer power over the last few decades, computer models of cardiac electrical activity have evolved from small strings of cells to a detailed description of the whole heart. Integrating information from the molecular scale to the whole organ, our models can not only simulate arrhythmias and investigate mechanisms but also can evaluate diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Used in combination with experimental and clinical research, computer modeling is expected to play an increasing role in the interpretation of biomedical measurements.

We create three-dimensional virtual models of the human atria based on anatomical, histological and electrophysiological data. In these models, conditions are set up that trigger and maintain an arrhythmia, as inspired by clinical observations and physiological hypotheses. A variety of conditions are simulated to reproduce different diseased states of increasing severity. The evolution of the electrical activity generated by the heart during an arrhythmia is simulated. Then, electrical signals obtained from computer simulations, animal experiments and patients can be analyzed and compared.

Faculty Supervisor:

Vincent Jacquemet





Engineering - computer / electrical





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