Structure and Function of the Diastolic Heart: Material Properties of Passive Myocardium

  • Bruce Smaill
  • Peter Hunter
Part of the Institute for Nonlinear Science book series (INLS)

Abstract

A considerable body of indirect evidence indicates that the characteristics and extent of the extracellular connective tissue matrix in the heart are important determinants of ventricular function. An appropriate constitutive law for passive ventricular myocardium should therefore incorporate the most important features of its microstructure. In the first part of this chapter we outline the current understanding of cardiac microstructure. The organization and classification of the connective tissue hierarchy are reviewed and the contributions of the different collagen types constituting the extracellular tissue matrix are considered. We present recent morphological findings that indicate that ventricular myocardium is a layered composite rather than a uniformly branching continuum, and that the extent of coupling between adjacent layers of cells varies through the wall of the ventricle. In the second part of the chapter we describe the results of biaxial mechanical tests on thin sections of ventricular myocardium. For specimens from the midwall and subepicardium of the left ventricle, stress-extension relations in the fiber direction were nonlinear, with maximum fiber extensions between 15 and 25%. In the cross-fiber direction large extensions were measured in midwall specimens, together with rate dependence and hysteresis. This was not observed in subepicardial specimens. In both cases, however, cross-fiber stress-extension relations were highly nonlinear. The variation in biaxial mechanical behavior in midwall and subepicardial specimens is seen to reflect differences in microstructure at these two sites. Finally, we demonstrate that although the observed mechanical behavior can be accurately reproduced by a simple phenomenological constitutive law, it is difficult to identify unique material parameters with such a constitutive formulation.

Keywords

Anisotropy Ischemia Fibril Dial EGTA 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Smaill
    • 1
  • Peter Hunter
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, School of MedicineUniversity of AucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Engineering Science, School of EngineeringUniversity of AucklandNew Zealand

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