An adaptive hybridizable discontinuous Galerkin approach for cardiac electrophysiology

Julia M. Hoermann, Cristóbal Bertoglio, Martin Kronbichler, Martin R. Pfaller, Radomir Chabiniok, Wolfgang A. Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Cardiac electrophysiology simulations are numerically challenging because of the propagation of a steep electrochemical wave front and thus require discretizations with small mesh sizes to obtain accurate results. In this work, we present an approach based on the hybridizable discontinuous Galerkin method (HDG), which allows an efficient implementation of high-order discretizations into a computational framework. In particular, using the advantage of the discontinuous function space, we present an efficient p-adaptive strategy for accurately tracking the wave front. The HDG allows to reduce the overall degrees of freedom in the final linear system to those only on the element interfaces. Additionally, we propose a rule for a suitable integration accuracy for the ionic current term depending on the polynomial order and the cell model to handle high-order polynomials. Our results show that for the same number of degrees of freedom, coarse high-order elements provide more accurate results than fine low-order elements. Introducing p-adaptivity further reduces computational costs while maintaining accuracy by restricting the use of high-order elements to resolve the wave front. For a patient-specific simulation of a cardiac cycle, p-adaptivity reduces the average number of degrees of freedom by 95% compared to the nonadaptive model. In addition to reducing computational costs, using coarse meshes with our p-adaptive high-order HDG method also simplifies practical aspects of mesh generation and postprocessing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2959
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiac electrophysiology
  • finite element method
  • hybridizable discontinuous Galerkin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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