Implantable electrocardiac devices, being in charge of keeping people alive, necessarily require a lot of testing to avoid deadly malfunctions. Yet, while testing the computer code inside a pacemaker using traditional means can find a lot of bugs, having a simulated heart which can go quickly through thousands of combinations of states a heart can be in, can help find a lot more nuanced ones.
A team at University of Pennsylvania has developed a virtual heart model that runs on an integrated circuit and pretends to a pacemaker to be a real heart via an analog interface. The system was created using Mathworks’ MATLAB and Simulink software based on a map of the heart’s electrical activity.
From the project info page:
There is currently no formal methodology or open experimental platform to test and verify the correct operation of medical device software within the closed-loop context of the patient. To this effect, a real-time Virtual Heart Model (VHM) has been developed to model the electrophysiological operation of the functioning and malfunctioning (i.e., during arrhythmia) heart. By extracting the timing properties of the heart and pacemaker device, we present a methodology to construct a timed-automata model for functional and formal testing and verification of the closed-loop system. The VHM’s capability of generating clinically-relevant response has been validated for a variety of common arrhythmias. Based on a set of requirements, we describe a closed-loop testing environment that allows for interactive and physiologically relevant model-based test generation for basic pacemaker device operations such as maintaining the heart rate, atrial-ventricle synchrony and complex conditions such as pacemaker-mediated tachycardia. This system is a step toward a testing and verification approach for medical cyber-physical systems with the patient-in-the-loop.
Project page: MedCPS@Penn…