A coupling strategy for a first 3D-1D model of the cardiovascular system to study the effects of pulse wave propagation on cardiac function

Comput Mech. 2022;70(4):703-722. doi: 10.1007/s00466-022-02206-6. Epub 2022 Jul 9.


A key factor governing the mechanical performance of the heart is the bidirectional coupling with the vascular system, where alterations in vascular properties modulate the pulsatile load imposed on the heart. Current models of cardiac electromechanics (EM) use simplified 0D representations of the vascular system when coupling to anatomically accurate 3D EM models is considered. However, these ignore important effects related to pulse wave transmission. Accounting for these effects requires 1D models, but a 3D-1D coupling remains challenging. In this work, we propose a novel, stable strategy to couple a 3D cardiac EM model to a 1D model of blood flow in the largest systemic arteries. For the first time, a personalised coupled 3D-1D model of left ventricle and arterial system is built and used in numerical benchmarks to demonstrate robustness and accuracy of our scheme over a range of time steps. Validation of the coupled model is performed by investigating the coupled system's physiological response to variations in the arterial system affecting pulse wave propagation, comprising aortic stiffening, aortic stenosis or bifurcations causing wave reflections. Our first 3D-1D coupled model is shown to be efficient and robust, with negligible additional computational costs compared to 3D-0D models. We further demonstrate that the calibrated 3D-1D model produces simulated data that match with clinical data under baseline conditions, and that known physiological responses to alterations in vascular resistance and stiffness are correctly replicated. Thus, using our coupled 3D-1D model will be beneficial in modelling studies investigating wave propagation phenomena.

Keywords: 3D-1D coupling; Cardiac electromechanics; Cardiovascular modelling; Multiphysics modelling; Pulse wave propagation.