Scientists develop `virtual heart’ to model heart failure

Scientists have developed a “virtual heart” that could help medical researchers study new drug therapies for heart failure. Researchers created a detailed computational model of the electrophysiology of congestive heart failure.

The model can simulate subtle changes from the cellular and tissue levels of the heart, up to the whole heart itself, then show the results of the associated ECG.

At the cellular and tissue levels, the model can show what happens to the heart when the levels and flow of calcium, potassium and sodium ions are changed. At the organ level, the researchers created an anatomically detailed model of the heart, which then shows what happens when various critical chemicals and electrophysiologic components of a healthy working heart are tweaked.