Scientists create ‘virtual heart’ to fight heart failure

Scientists from the University of California Los Angeles have created a virtual model of the heart which would help medical researchers study new drug therapies.

This new model will help them to understand the subtle changes from the cellular and tissue levels of the heart. The detailed computer model of the electrophysiology of congestive heart failures will assist in showing the results of associated electrocardiogram.

The results were published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology where it addressed about the different definition of heart failure and how each had different compromised cardiac functions.

The virtual model of the heart can simulate subtle changes that take place in the cellular and the tissue level of the heart. It can help the researchers to investigate the mechanism leading to ventricular fibrillation in heart failure and get to know all the clinical signs that that can lead to VF.

The virtual model of the heart will also help the scientist and doctors in understanding what will happen when the level and flow of calcium, sodium and potassium ions are changed. Other than this it also takes into account the speed at which cell ion channel works in the heart.

To create a realistic virtual model of the heart the geometry and microstructure of the model were constructed from diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DTMRI) of a white rabbit heart from New Zealand.

The minor changes that will happen in the model will be shown in a corresponding electrocardiogram. ECG is a tool that is used to diagnose heart abnormalities.

Researchers believe that this invention will help the doctors to zero down on an efficient new drug therapy for heart failures and also to understand on when and where in the heart the medication can be most effective.

Heart failure or heart attack has become one of the leading cause of death around the world and researchers believe that this new model will help in understanding the conditions that led to it.

In an official press release it was stated in the paper, “The fact remains that there is not a single correct model of heart failure, but there are many separate models because of the range of subclasses. But in this study by using a virtual model of the heart, we will focus on congestive heart failure.”

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