Significant progress has been made in the study of the developmental biomechanics of the embryonic chick heart through the use of the finite element method (FEM) [1, 2, 3]. Our work focuses on the geometry of the Hamburger-Hamilton stages 9–12 embryonic chick heart, approximately the time when the heart begins to function and undergoes drastic morphological changes, such as c-looping. Our objective is to devise a method for building an accurate 3D solid FEM mesh used for nonlinear analysis of the myocardium (MY) and cardiac jelly (CJ). The models are based on the extraction of voxels from optical coherence tomography (OCT) images of an arrested developing heart. To alleviate the problem of jagged edges introduced by the hexahedral voxel structure, we present a method for geometric smoothing and mesh coarsening. The performance of the voxel and smoothed models are tested given physiological loading conditions (pressure, biological growth, muscle contraction), to ascertain which model should be used for modeling the c-looping process.

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