Heart at work

Possibilities to obtain information from the patient heart have grown strongly with the development of new imaging modalities such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Computed Tomography and Ultrasound.  The translation of this information into a patient specific diagnosis and treatment is not trivial, due to the  complex relation between image information and underlying cardiac pathology. In addition, the understanding of various treatment strategies, such as cardiac resynchronization therapy, or mechanical support through cardiac assist devices, is incomplete.

Aim in the track ‘Heart at Work’ is to assist in clinical decision making on the basis of mathematical and experimental models. The mathematical models link cardiac function at tissue level, organ level and complete patient level and enable translation of information on cardiac function, observed in the clinic (e.g. pressures, deformations, heart rates), into information on the mechanical, electrical and metabolic state of the tissue. The experimental models include in vitro setups and ex vivo beating heart setups, that employ slaughterhouse porcine hearts. These setups allow for testing of devices and hypotheses in an environment that is more accessible, more controllable and less subjected to ethical considerations than the real patient. In addition, next to data obtained in collaboration with our academic and clinical partners, also the experimental models provide information for verification of our mathematical models.