Real-Time Interactive Simulations of Complex Ionic Cardiac Cell Models in 2D and 3D Heart Structures with GPUs on Personal Computers

Abouzar Kaboudian, Elizabeth Cherry, Flavio Fenton
Georgia Institute of Technology


Aims: Cardiac modeling in heart structures for the study of arrhythmia mechanisms requires the use of software that runs on supercomputers. Therefore, computational studies are limited to groups with access to computer clusters and personnel with high-performance computing experience. We present how to use and implement WebGL programs via a custom-written library to run and visualize simulations of the most complex ionic models in 2D and 3D, in real time, interactively using the multi-core GPU of a single computer.

Methods: We use \abubujs, a library we developed for solving partial differential equations such as those describing crystal growth and fluid flow, along with a newly implemented visualization algorithm, to simulate complex ionic cell models. By combining this library with JavaScript, we allow direct real-time interactions with simulations. We implemented: 1) modification of any model parameters and equations at any time, with direct access to the code while it runs, 2) electrode stimulation anywhere in the 2D/3D tissue with a mouse click, 3) saving the solution of the system at any time to re-initiate the dynamics from saved initial conditions, and 4) rotation/visualization of 3D structures at any angle.

Results: As examples of this modeling platform, we implemented a phenomenological cell model and the human ventricular OVVR model (41 variables). In 2D we illustrate the dynamics in an annulus, disk, and square tissue; in 2D and 3D porcine ventricles, we show the initiation of functional/anatomical reentry, spiral wave dynamics in different regimes, initiation of early afterdepolarizations (EADs), and the effects of model parameter variations in real time.

Conclusions: We present the first simulations of complex models in anatomical structures with enhanced visualization and extended interactivity that run on a single PC, without software downloads, and as fast as in real-time even for 3D full ventricles.