Department of Information Technology

Biomechanical simulation of the respiratory muscles

Individual virtual ventilator (INVIVE). Logo designed by Eliott Baltz, Guillaume Courtes and Nicolas Boudière.


The motivation for the project is the serious medical condition, called ventilator induced diaphragmatic dysfunction (VIDD). The diaphragm is the main muscle involved in natural breathing. When the diaphragm contracts, the rib cage expands and the pressure gradient that is generated causes air to flow into the lungs. During mechanical ventilation, air is instead pushed into the lungs resulting in a passive displacement of the diaphragm. This unnatural forcing results in loss of function in the muscle tissue, which in turn complicates and prolongs the restoration of the respiratory independence. This dysfunction ensues even after relatively short periods of mechanical ventilation.



To develop a simulator that allows for an in-silico exploration of the respiratory function with and without mechanical ventilation in combination with intervention measures that can reduce or prevent the risk for VIDD in the patients.

That requires a thorough investigation of the physical model of the diaphraghm and the methods to solve the resulting partial differential equations. Coupling of the diaphragm with other human body parts has to be taken into account in order to assure well-posedness of the problem. Validation with respect to the real patient-data has to be performed on a continuous basis.


  • Modeling: nonlinear, time-dependent equations of hyperelasticity.
  • Numerics: Radial basis function partition of unity method for approximating the solutions to the partial differential equations.
  • Geometry: realistic three dimensional representation of the diaphragm.

The team


The INVIVE team during the first meeting in Uppsala, August 2017. From left to right: Elisabeth Larsson, Nicola Cacciani, Igor Tominec, Pierre-Frédéric Villard.

Updated  2018-01-08 13:02:55 by Igor Tominec.