High-order finite element methods for cardiac monodomain simulations

Kevin P. Vincent, Matthew J. Gonzales, Andrew K. Gillette, Christopher T. Villongco, Simone Pezzuto, Jeffrey H. Omens, Michael J. Holst, Andrew D. McCulloch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Computational modeling of tissue-scale cardiac electrophysiology requires numerically converged solutions to avoid spurious artifacts. The steep gradients inherent to cardiac action potential propagation necessitate fine spatial scales and therefore a substantial computational burden. The use of high-order interpolation methods has previously been proposed for these simulations due to their theoretical convergence advantage. In this study, we compare the convergence behavior of linear Lagrange, cubic Hermite, and the newly proposed cubic Hermite-style serendipity interpolation methods for finite element simulations of the cardiac monodomain equation. The high-order methods reach converged solutions with fewer degrees of freedom and longer element edge lengths than traditional linear elements. Additionally, we propose a dimensionless number, the cell Thiele modulus, as a more useful metric for determining solution convergence than element size alone. Finally, we use the cell Thiele modulus to examine convergence criteria for obtaining clinically useful activation patterns for applications such as patient-specific modeling where the total activation time is known a priori.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number217
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberAug
StatePublished - 2015


  • Cardiac activation pattern
  • Cell Thiele modulus
  • Finite element analysis
  • Monodomain model
  • Serendipity methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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