Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 134208, 10 pages
Research Article

A Simplified 3D Model of Whole Heart Electrical Activity and 12-Lead ECG Generation

1University of Zagreb, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
2Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia

Received 18 November 2012; Accepted 15 March 2013

Academic Editor: Henggui Zhang

Copyright © 2013 Siniša Sovilj et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We present a computationally efficient three-dimensional bidomain model of torso-embedded whole heart electrical activity, with spontaneous initiation of activation in the sinoatrial node, incorporating a specialized conduction system with heterogeneous action potential morphologies throughout the heart. The simplified geometry incorporates the whole heart as a volume source, with heart cavities, lungs, and torso as passive volume conductors. We placed four surface electrodes at the limbs of the torso: , , and and six electrodes on the chest to simulate the Einthoven, Goldberger-augmented and precordial leads of a standard 12-lead system. By placing additional seven electrodes at the appropriate torso positions, we were also able to calculate the vectorcardiogram of the Frank lead system. Themodel was able to simulate realistic electrocardiogram (ECG) morphologies for the 12 standard leads, orthogonal , , and leads, as well as the vectorcardiogram under normal and pathological heart states. Thus, simplified and easy replicable 3D cardiac bidomain model offers a compromise between computational load and model complexity and can be used as an investigative tool to adjust cell, tissue, and whole heart properties, such as setting ischemic lesions or regions of myocardial infarction, to readily investigate their effects on whole ECG morphology.