Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a supraventricular tachyarrhythmia characterized by complete absence of coordinated atrial contraction and is associated with an increased morbidity and mortality. Personalized computational modeling provides a novel framework for integrating and interpreting the role of atrial electrophysiology (EP) including the underlying anatomy and microstructure in the development and sustenance of AF. Coronary computed tomography angiography data were segmented using a statistics-based approach and the smoothed voxel representations were discretized into high-resolution tetrahedral finite element (FE) meshes. To estimate the complex left atrial myofiber architecture, individual fiber fields were generated according to morphological data on the endo- and epicardial surfaces based on local solutions of Laplace's equation and transmurally interpolated to tetrahedral elements. The influence of variable transmural microstructures was quantified through EP simulations on 3 patients using 5 different fiber interpolation functions. Personalized geometrical models included the heterogeneous thickness distribution of the left atrial myocardium and subsequent discretization led to high-fidelity tetrahedral FE meshes. The novel algorithm for automated incorporation of the left atrial fiber architecture provided a realistic estimate of the atrial microstructure and was able to qualitatively capture all important fiber bundles. Consistent maximum local activation times were predicted in EP simulations using individual transmural fiber interpolation functions for each patient suggesting a negligible effect of the transmural myofiber architecture on EP. The established modeling pipeline provides a robust framework for the rapid development of personalized model cohorts accounting for detailed anatomy and microstructure and facilitates simulations of atrial EP.
Keywords: Atrial electrophysiology; Atrial fiber architecture; Finite element method; Personalized computational modeling.
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