The human left ventricle in diastole can be modelled as a passive structure with incremental internal pressure change being considered as the load. Recent developments in engineering stress analysis provide techniques for predicting the behaviour of structures with complex geometry and material properties, as is the case with the left ventricle. That which is most appropriate is the finite element method which requires the use of a large digital computer. The ventricles of 2 patients have been studied during diastole, the geometries having been derived from cineangiographic data (biplane), and the pressure by means of catheter-tip manometers. Various descriptions of myocardial stress/strain relations have been assumed and applied to the left ventricular wall in order to obtain the best match between the calculated and observed deformation patterns. The manner in which the value and distribution of stiffness in the left ventricle influences the shape change can therefore be determined, and possible clinical implications deduced.
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