Cardiac Simulator


Fabio Maggio. E-mail:


The medicine of the future aims to predict in a personalized way the operation of body parts of the patient through simulation software based on precision anatomical models. In this way, for example, it will be possible to simulate reactions in different patients who have been administered the same drug. The main problem of the cardiac simulation is the computational complexity: the fronts of the electrical potential in the heart have the characteristic dimension of the millimeter and typical times of millisecond (ms). This implies the resolution of problems with tens of millions of unknowns for many thousands temporal steps. The resolution of the problem in real time, i.e. 1 ms simulated cardiac signal elaborated in 1 ms would geratly help physiologists. However, the complexity of the heart function with the current computer technology limits still represents a challenge for the real-time realistic simulation.


CardioELSE is a numerical simulator of the electrophysiology of the heart. Starting from the geometrical model of a real heart, acquired for example by magnetic resonance imaging, it calculates, with fixed accuracy, the propagation of the electrical potential in the heart tissue. When the calculation is extended to the patient's chest, the simulation provides the so-called synthetic electrocardiogram. CardioELSE, using the state of the art high-performance computational technology (mathematical methods high accuracy, parallel intensively calculation, hybrid platforms CPU / GPU), is able to simulate in "almost" real-time the electrophysiology of the heart. CardioELSE is a free and open source software released under the GNU Lesser General Public License.

Innovative features

  • possibility of cardiac simulation of realistic models of human heart in "almost" real time ;

  • option to include specific cellular models;

  • ability to manage accurate physiological models (myocardial fibers orientation, etc.).

Potential users

Researchers and clinicians working in the field of cardiology.

Impact sectors

Clinical research (risk assessment and patients stratification) - Pharmaceutical industry.

Other resources

Fabio Maggio, Simulazione cardiaca: un passo verso la medicina personalizzata? Collana Seminari per la valorizzazione dei risultati della ricerca al CRS4, Cagliari, 3 Maggio 2012.

Bordas, R., Carpentieri, B., Fotia, G., Maggio, F., Nobes, R., Pitt-Francis, J., and Southern, J.. Simulation of Cardiac Electrophysiology on Next-Generation High-Performance Computers, 2009, vol. 367, no. 1895, 1951-1969.

Fabio Maggio, Bruno Carpentieri, and Giorgio Fotia. Spectral Elements Applied to Cardiac Simulation: a Comparison with Finite Elements. Technical Report 09/51. CRS4, Center for Advanced Studies, Research and Development in Sardinia. Cagliari, Italy, sep 2009.

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