Abstract The cardiac muscle activation or driver function, is a major determinant of cardiovascular dynamics, and is often approximated by the ratio of the left ventricle pressure to the left ventricle volume. In an intensive care unit, the left ventricle pressure is usually never measured, and the left ventricle volume is only measured occasionally by echocardiography, so is not available real-time. This paper develops a method for identifying the driver function based on correlates with geometrical features in the aortic pressure waveform. The method is included in an overall cardiovascular modelling approach, and is clinically validated on a porcine model of pulmonary embolism. For validation a comparison is done between the optimized parameters for a baseline model, which uses the direct measurements of the left ventricle pressure and volume, and the optimized parameters from the approximated driver function. The parameters do not significantly change between the two approaches thus showing that the patient specific approach to identifying the driver function is valid, and has potential clinically.