Progressive alterations in cardiac wall strains are a classic hallmark of chronic heart failure. Accordingly, the objectives of this study are to establish a baseline characterization of cardiac strains throughout the cardiac cycle, to quantify temporal, regional, and transmural variations of active fiber contraction, and to identify pathways of mechanical activation in the healthy beating heart. To this end, we insert two sets of twelve radiopaque beads into the heart muscle of nine sheep; one in the anterior-basal and one in the lateral-equatorial left ventricular wall. During three consecutive heartbeats, we record the bead coordinates via biplane videofluoroscopy. From the resulting four-dimensional data sets, we calculate the temporally and transmurally varying Green-Lagrange strains in the anterior and lateral wall. To quantify active contraction, we project the strains onto the local muscle fiber directions. We observe that mechanical activation is initiated at the endocardium slightly after end diastole and progresses transmurally outward, reaching the epicardium slightly before end systole. Accordingly, fibers near the outer wall are in contraction for approximately half of the cardiac cycle while fibers near the inner wall are in contraction almost throughout the entire cardiac cycle. In summary, cardiac wall strains display significant temporal, regional, and transmural variations. Quantifying wall strain profiles might be of particular clinical significance when characterizing stages of left ventricular remodeling, but also of engineering relevance when designing new biomaterials of similar structure and function.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2011.03.027
View details for Web of Science ID 000294187500025
View details for PubMedID 21783125