Systems approach to understanding electromechanical activity in the human heart a national heart, lung, and blood institute workshop summary
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) convened a workshop of cardiologists, cardiac electrophysiologists, cell biophysicists, and computational modelers on August 20 and 21, 2007, in Washington, DC, to advise the NHLBI on new research directions needed to develop integrative approaches to elucidate human cardiac function. The workshop strove to identify limitations in the use of data from nonhuman animal species for elucidation of human electromechanical function/activity and to identify what specific information on ion channel kinetics, calcium handling, and dynamic changes in the intracellular/extracellular milieu is needed from human cardiac tissues to develop more robust computational models of human cardiac electromechanical activity. This article summarizes the workshop discussions and recommendations on the following topics: (1) limitations of animal models and differences from human electrophysiology, (2) modeling ion channel structure/function in the context of whole-cell electrophysiology, (3) excitation-contraction coupling and regulatory pathways, (4) whole-heart simulations of human electromechanical activity, and (5) what human data are currently needed and how to obtain them. The recommendations can be found on the NHLBI Web site at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/meetings/workshops/electro.htm.