Heart-lung interaction mechanisms are generally not well understood. Mechanical ventilation, for example, accentuates such interactions and could compromise cardiac activity. Thereby, assessment of ventilation-induced changes in cardiac function is considered an unmet clinical need. We believe that mathematical models of the human cardiopulmonary system can provide invaluable insights into such cardiorespiratory interactions. In this article, we aim to use a mathematical model to explain heart-lung interaction phenomena and provide physiologic hypotheses to certain contradictory experimental observations during mechanical ventilation. To accomplish this task, we highlight three model components that play a crucial role in heart-lung interactions: 1) pericardial membrane, 2) interventricular septum, and 3) pulmonary circulation that enables pulmonary capillary compression due to lung inflation. Evaluation of the model’s response under simulated ventilation scenarios shows good agreement with experimental data from the literature. A sensitivity analysis is also presented to evaluate the relative impact of the model’s highlighted components on the cyclic ventilation-induced changes in cardiac function.
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