heart mechanics

Recent investigations on the state of strain in human left ventricle based on the synergy between continuum mechanics and echocardiographic imaging have shown great challenges. The analysis has been based on the synergy between Engineers and Cardiologists from Sapienza Università di Roma, joined to create a Research Group coordinated by prof. P. Nardinocchi and funded by Sapienza, which has also been supported by Toshiba Research Europe for many year.

Last Grant: Sapienza Grant no. RM120172A77FB346 (2020) "The mechanical background underlying a morphometric atlas of the left heart"

In the picture, from top left, moving clockwise along the contour: Paolo Piras (freelance researcher), Concetta Torromeo (Sapienza Università di Roma), Michele Schiariti (Sapienza Università di Roma), Giuseppe Esposito (Università di Napoli-Federico II), Paolo Emilio Puddu (Università di Caen), Valerio Varano (Università Roma Tre), Luciano Teresi (Università Roma Tre), Paola Nardinocchi (Sapienza Università di Roma), Antonietta Evangelista (Ospedale san Giovanni Calibita Fatebenefratelli, Roma); in the center, Stefano Gabriele (Università Roma Tre).

Keywords of our research: myocardial deformation, cardiac cycle trajectories, geometric morphometrics.

End diastolic five plane view (left), FEM model (center) and plastic bag segments LV model (right). From: Evangelista et al., Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 107(1), 2011.

We started with the analysis of the deformation patterns in a human left ventricle, developing a finite element model of the left ventricle (LV) based on echocardiographic images, and looking at the torsional behaviour of the LV which is extremely sensitive to changes in cardiac function. We set a twofold investigation: we assess left ventricular (LV) rotation and twist in the human heart through 3D echocardiographic speckle tracking, and use representative experimental data as benchmark with respect to numerical results obtained by solving our mechanical model of the LV. We aim at new insight into the relationships between myocardial contraction patterns and the overall behavior at the scale of the whole organ.

Actual geometry of LV: black and red landmarks represent the epicardial and the endocardial layer (a); bullseye plot showing the landmark positions (b); bullseye plot of the mean radial strain: mean values for each segment (c) and point-wise values (d). From: Piras et al., Experimental Physiology 104(11), 2019.

From the Commentary on the same issue

In this issue of Experimental Physiology, Piras et al. (2019) elegantly load geometric morphometrics and four‐dimensional trajectory analysis onto three‐dimensional speckle tracking echocardiography to characterize myocardial deformation in a brand new way. Boldly, they ditch the time‐honoured 16‐segment bulls‐eye plot of mean radial strains and opt for a continuous mapping technique, liberating us from those annoying artificial boundary conditions (the segments) that we have grown accustomed to impose on our cardiac slices.

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See the full list of publications on heart mechanics in both Journals and Proceedings and Books to know more about our work.