Contractile Adaptation of the Left Ventricle Post-myocardial Infarction: Predictions by Rodent-Specific Computational Modeling.
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Myocardial infarction (MI) results in cardiac myocyte death and the formation of a fibrotic scar in the left ventricular free wall (LVFW). Following an acute MI, LVFW remodeling takes place consisting of several alterations in the structure and properties of cellular and extracellular components with a heterogeneous pattern across the LVFW. The normal function of the heart is strongly influenced by the passive and active biomechanical behavior of the LVFW, and progressive myocardial structural remodeling can have a detrimental effect on both diastolic and systolic functions of the LV leading to heart failure. Despite important advances in understanding LVFW passive remodeling in the setting of MI, heterogeneous remodeling in the LVFW active properties and its relationship to organ-level LV function remain understudied. To address these gaps, we developed high-fidelity finite-element (FE) rodent computational cardiac models (RCCMs) of MI using extensive datasets from MI rat hearts representing the heart remodeling from one-week (1-wk) to four-week (4-wk) post-MI timepoints. The rat-specific models (n = 2 for each timepoint) integrate detailed imaging data of the heart geometry, myocardial fiber architecture, and infarct zone determined using late gadolinium enhancement prior to terminal measurements. The computational models predicted a significantly higher level of active tension in remote myocardium in early post-MI hearts (1-wk post-MI) followed by a return to near the control level in late-stage MI (3- and 4-wk post-MI). The late-stage MI rats showed smaller myofiber ranges in the remote region and in-silico experiments using RCCMs suggested that the smaller fiber helicity is consistent with lower contractile forces needed to meet the measured ejection fractions in late-stage MI. In contrast, in-silico experiments predicted that collagen fiber transmural orientation in the infarct region has little influence on organ-level function. In addition, our MI RCCMs indicated that reduced and potentially positive circumferential strains in the infarct region at end-systole can be used to infer information about the time-varying properties of the infarct region. The detailed description of regional passive and active remodeling patterns can complement and enhance the traditional measures of LV anatomy and function that often lead to a gross and limited assessment of cardiac performance. The translation and implementation of our model in patient-specific organ-level simulations offer to advance the investigation of individualized prognosis and intervention for MI.