New simulated human heart will allow virtual tests, say designers

26th May 2015

A French software company has designed a simulated human heart that researchers and doctors can use to perform virtual tests.

The 3D design company says the scientifically validated 3D simulator of a four-chamber human heart is the first product of its kind in the world. It will allow researchers, heart device manufacturers and doctors to perform virtual tests and visualise the heart’s response in ways that are not possible with traditional physical testing, the company Dassault Systemes has announced.

Living Heart Project

The model, made as part of its commercial Living Heart Project, is designed to represent a baseline healthy heart which can be modified to represent the shape and tissue properties of a heart with heart disease and other defects.

The model includes well-defined anatomic details of the heart and has realistic electrical, structural, and blood flow physics, says the company. Medical devices can be inserted into the simulator to study their influence on heart function, check how well they work, and predict reliability under a range of conditions. 

Dr Robert Schwengel, professor of medicine at Alpert Medical School at Brown University in the US, said: “A product like this could be very powerful in helping to educate my patients, students of medicine, and current medical professionals, as well as lead to improved diagnostic capabilities and the personalisation of medical therapeutics.”

The Living Heart Project has members from regulatory organisations such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC), as well as technology providers, cardiologists, medical device manufacturers and hospitals such as St Jude Medical and the Mayo Clinic.

They have identified the highest priority heart applications and associated technologies which will help shape future versions of the simulator.