Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

University of Oxford researchers have developed a new computer model that recreates the electrical activity of the ventricles in a human heart. In doing so, they have uncovered and resolved theoretical inconsistencies that have been present in almost all models of the heart from the last 25 years. The new human heart model could enable more basic, translational and clinical research into a range of heart diseases and potentially accelerate the development of new therapies.

Virtual image of human heart with cardiogram

Decades of intensive experimental and clinical research have revealed a great deal about how the human heart works. Though incomplete, this knowledge has been used to construct computer models that represent the activity of this organ as a whole, and of its individual chambers, the atria and ventricles, down to its tissues and cells. Such models have been used to better understand life-threatening irregular heartbeats; they are also beginning to be used to guide decisions about the treatment of patients and the development of new drugs by the pharmaceutical industry.

Yet existing computer models of the electrical activity of the human heart are sometimes inconsistent with experimental data. This issue led Dr Jakub Tomek, now a Postdoctoral Researcher in Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics, to try and find an answer to this problem during his tenure in the Department of Computer Science as part of Professor Blanca Rodriguez’s Computational Cardiovascular Science Team. At the start of the project, the team observed that the most popular computer model at the time predicted a large increase in cellular contractility in response to sodium blockade, which is not compatible with clinical and experimental data. “This observation made us start working on a new model, but in the end, the journey towards success was much longer and more complicated than we initially expected.” (Dr Tomek).

Read the full story on the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics website

Similar stories

Latest data on immune response to COVID-19 reinforces need for vaccination, says Oxford-led study

A new study led by the University of Oxford has found that previous infection, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, does not necessarily protect you long-term from COVID-19, particularly against new Variants of Concern.

First trimester placental scan - Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award

A first trimester 3D placental ultrasound scan which can predict fetal growth restriction and pre-eclampsia, could become part of a woman's routine care thanks to a new Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award.

Impaired antibody response to COVID-19 vaccination in patients with myeloid blood cancers

Oxford researchers have found that antibody responses to the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine in people with chronic myeloid blood cancers are not as strong as those among the general population.

Treating Needle Fears May Reduce COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Rates by 10%

A new large-scale study shows that a quarter of the UK adult population screens positive for a potential injection phobia.

RECOVERY trial Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody combination reduces deaths for hospitalised COVID-19 patients

The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial has demonstrated that the investigational antibody combination developed by Regeneron reduces the risk of death when given to patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19 who have not mounted a natural antibody response of their own.

Major new study could help protect millions of people with type 2 diabetes from cardiovascular disease

A new study led by the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford will research whether a daily tablet could help protect the millions of people worldwide with type 2 diabetes from developing cardiovascular disease.