Cardiovascular diseases account for the number one cause of deaths in the world. Part of the reason for such grim statistics is our limited understanding of the underlying mechanisms causing these devastating pathologies, which is made difficult by the invasiveness of the procedures associated with their diagnosis (e.g., inserting catheters into the coronal artery to measure blood flow to the heart). Likewise, it is also difficult to design and test assistive devices without implanting them in vivo. However, with the recent advancements made in biomedical scanning technologies and computer simulations, image-based modeling (IBM) has arisen as the next logical step in the evolution of non-invasive patient-specific cardiovascular medicine. Yet, due to its novelty, it is still relatively unknown outside of the niche field. Therefore, the goal of this manuscript is to review the current state-of-the-art and the limitations of the methods used in this area of research, as well as their applications to personalized cardiovascular investigations and treatments. Specifically, the modeling of three different physics – electrophysiology, biomechanics and hemodynamics – used in the cardiovascular IBM is discussed in the context of the physiology that each one of them describes and the mechanisms of the underlying cardiac diseases that they can provide insight into. Only the “bare-bones” of the modeling approaches are discussed in order to make this introductory material more accessible to an outside observer. Additionally, the imaging methods, the aspects of the unique cardiac anatomy derived from them, and their relation to the modeling algorithms are reviewed. Finally, conclusions are drawn about the future evolution of these methods and their potential toward revolutionizing the non-invasive diagnosis, virtual design of treatments/assistive devices, and increasing our understanding of these lethal cardiovascular diseases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- cardio electromechanics
- image-based modeling
- personalized cardiovascular medicine