Fiber architecture of the left ventricular wall: An asymptotic analysis

Charles S. Peskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The goal of this paper is to derive the fiber architecture of the left ventricle from first principles. The principles used are (i) mechanical equilibrium, (ii) a stress tensor that is the sum of a hydrostatic pressure and a fiber stress, (iii) the assumption that fiber tubes have constant cross‐sectional area along their length, (iv) axial symmetry, and (v) the approximation that the thickness of the ventricular wall is small in comparison with the other wall dimensions. From these hypotheses, it is deduced that the cardiac muscle fibers are approximate geodesics on a nested family of toroidal surfaces centered on a degenerate torus in the equatorial plane of the heart. (Exact geodesics are ruled out by the theory.) Formulae are derived for the fiber surfaces and the fiber‐angle distribution through the wall, and a differential equation is derived for the shape of the middle surface of the left ventricle. The results are in substantial agreement with experimental observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-113
Number of pages35
JournalCommunications on Pure and Applied Mathematics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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