Gating-enhanced IMEX splitting methods for cardiac monodomain simulation

  • Kevin R. GreenEmail author
  • Raymond J. Spiteri
Original Paper


The electrical activity in excitable cardiac tissue can be simulated using the so-called monodomain model. The monodomain model is a continuum-based multi-scale model that consists of non-linear ordinary differential equations describing the electrical activity at the cellular scale along with a semi-linear parabolic partial differential equation describing electrical propagation at the tissue scale. The standard “scale-based” splitting method for simulating the monodomain model is to split the tissue and cell models, applying different integrators to each. Typically, the tissue model is simulated with an implicit time-integration method, and the cell model is simulated with an explicit or explicit-exponential one. We demonstrate that the application of implicit-explicit (IMEX) linear multistep or Runge–Kutta methods to this splitting can have poor stability properties when the cell model is stiff. We propose a novel “gating-enhanced” IMEX splitting that treats the tissue variable and the (typically stiff) cell model gating variables together implicitly. The performance of 14 different IMEX methods using both splittings is measured in a variety of one- and two-dimensional experiments. The low incremental overhead combined with the substantially improved stability of the gating-enhanced splitting is shown to result in a performance increase of approximately a factor of four for simulations of the monodomain model with the stiff ten Tusscher–Panfilov model of human endocardial cells.


Monodomain model Cardiac electrophysiology Implicit-explicit time-integration methods 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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