Contractile and Mechanical Properties of the Myocardium

  • Allan J. Brady
Part of the Developments in Cardiovascular Medicine book series (DICM, volume 34)


One of the principal concerns of cardiac muscle mechanics is the understanding of the relation between the contractile properties of the whole heart and the myofilaments. In its most superficial sense this relation is one of geometry. Dimensionally, a measure of whole heart performance should be understandable from studies of the mechanical properties of long thin papillary muscles or trabeculae. From such one-dimensional analyses, one could surmise that the three-dimensional complexity of the whole heart could be approximated. Indeed, there have been numerous attempts to formulate ventricular performance in terms of “constitutive” parameters, i.e., in terms of parameters that are independent of external influences, which are based on the mechanical characteristics of papillary muscles. However, these approaches generally prove inadequate where functional differences in organ contractility are of interest. These deficiencies, in the large part, arise from the geometric approximations required to describe the thick-walled asymmetric ventricle and from an inappropriate characterization of the one-dimensional mechanical properties of papillary muscle or trabecular preparations. This chapter primarily discusses the characterization of the functional relations between force and length that may be used as the basis for the formulation of constitutive relations.


Cardiac Muscle Papillary Muscle Heart Muscle Muscle Length Sarcomere Length 
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  • Allan J. Brady

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