A virtual heart, developed at The University of Manchester, is revealing new information about one of the world's most common heart conditions. Researchers at the School of Physics and Astronomy used cutting edge technology to build an advanced computational model of an anatomically correct sheep's heart. It was made by taking a series of very thin slices of the heart, imaging them in 2D and then using a computer programme to render them into a 3D model.
The reconstruction includes details of the complex fibre structure of the tissue, and the segmentation of the upper chambers of the heart into known distinctive atrial regions. Single-cell models that take into account information about the electrical activity in different atrial parts of regions the heart were then incorporated into the model. The virtual heart was then used to investigate the condition atrial fibrillation (AF).