A three-dimensional composite model of heart muscle is proposed, consisting of one-dimensional (uniaxial) active contractile filaments embedded in a passive elastic binder. Equations are developed which relate the force developed by the filaments to the local tissue stress. An approximate analysis is employed to determine the time variation of the contractile filament stress throughout the cardiac cycle from catheterization data. Results from 15 patients with normal left ventricles demonstrate that the stress developed by the contractile filaments is up to 25 percent more tensile than the wall stress, and that the binder stress is compressive during most of systole. In contrast, the one-dimensional lumped parameter muscle models previously employed predict active (CE) stresses less tensile than the wall stress and binder (PE) stresses that are tensile. We conclude that the use of a one-dimensional muscle model results in a significant underestimation of the active force generation required for pressure development and the power requirements for ejection. Prior studies relating muscle work and power to ventricular oxygen consumption should be re-examined in this light.

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