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Modeling and simulation of the electric activity of the heart using graphic processing units

Mena Tobar, Andrés
Rodríguez Matas, José Félix (dir.)

Universidad de Zaragoza, 2017
(Instituto de Investigación en Ingeniería de Aragón (I3A))


Resumen: Mathematical modelling and simulation of the electric activity of the heart (cardiac electrophysiology) offers and ideal framework to combine clinical and experimental data in order to help understanding the underlying mechanisms behind the observed respond under physiological and pathological conditions. In this regard, solving the electric activity of the heart possess a big challenge, not only because of the structural complexities inherent to the heart tissue, but also because of the complex electric behaviour of the cardiac cells. The multi- scale nature of the electrophysiology problem makes difficult its numerical solution, requiring temporal and spatial resolutions of 0.1 ms and 0.2 mm respectively for accurate simulations, leading to models with millions degrees of freedom that need to be solved for thousand time steps. Solution of this problem requires the use of algorithms with higher level of parallelism in multi-core platforms. In this regard the newer programmable graphic processing units (GPU) has become a valid alternative due to their tremendous computational horsepower. This thesis develops around the implementation of an electrophysiology simulation software entirely developed in Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) for GPU computing. The software implements fully explicit and semi-implicit solvers for the monodomain model, using operator splitting and the finite element method for space discretization. Performance is compared with classical multi-core MPI based solvers operating on dedicated high-performance computer clusters. Results obtained with the GPU based solver show enormous potential for this technology with accelerations over 50× for three-dimensional problems when using an implicit scheme for the parabolic equation, whereas accelerations reach values up to 100× for the explicit implementation. The implemented solver has been applied to study pro-arrhythmic mechanisms during acute ischemia. In particular, we investigate on how hyperkalemia affects the vulnerability window to reentry and the reentry patterns in the heterogeneous substrate caused by acute regional ischemia using an anatomically and biophysically detailed human biventricular model. A three dimensional geometrically and anatomically accurate regionally ischemic human heart model was created. The ischemic region was located in the inferolateral and posterior side of the left ventricle mimicking the occlusion of the circumflex artery, and the presence of a washed-out zone not affected by ischemia at the endocardium has been incorporated. Realistic heterogeneity and fi er anisotropy has also been considered in the model. A highly electrophysiological detailed action potential model for human has been adapted to make it suitable for modeling ischemic conditions (hyperkalemia, hipoxia, and acidic conditions) by introducing a formulation of the ATP-sensitive K+ current. The model predicts the generation of sustained re-entrant activity in the form single and double circus around a blocked area within the ischemic zone for K+ concentrations bellow 9mM, with the reentrant activity associated with ventricular tachycardia in all cases. Results suggest the washed-out zone as a potential pro-arrhythmic substrate factor helping on establishing sustained ventricular tachycardia.
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Resumen (otro idioma): 

Pal. clave: simulación

Área de conocimiento: Ingeniería de sistemas y automática

Departamento: Instituto de Investigación en Ingeniería de Aragón (I3A)

Nota: Presentado: 23 06 2017
Nota: Tesis-Univ. Zaragoza, Instituto de Investigación en Ingeniería de Aragón (I3A), 2017



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