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Open Access Echocardiography, Color-Coded Doppler Imaging, and Abdominal Sonography, a Non-Invasive Method for Investigation of Heart and Aortic Morphology and Function in Female Gottingen Minipigs: Method and Reference Values for M-Mode, B-Mode, and Flow Parameters

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Objective: The aim of the study reported here was to set up a method for echocardiography (EC) and abdominal sonography and to obtain EC reference values for left ventricular (LV) morphology and function and sonographic abdominal aortic morphology, function, and flow values in conscious, unsedated Gottingen minipigs.

Methods: Applying a standardized investigation procedure, the following parameters were measured by use of Mmode EC, color-coded Doppler imaging, and B-mode sonography, or were calculated, in 58 female minipigs: LV enddiastolic and end-systolic diameter, interventricular septum thickness, LV caudal wall thickness, LV end-diastolic volume and end-systolic volume, fractional shortening, ejection fraction, and percentage of thickening of interventricular septum and LV caudal wall. In addition, morphology, pulsatility, flow values, and flow patterns in the abdominal aorta were recorded or calculated during abdominal sonography and color-coded Doppler imaging.

Results: Variable EC values were obtained due to individual variations of motor activity. Variation could be reduced by accustoming the animals to a standardized investigation procedure. Reference values could be obtained for EC, partially indicating clear correlation with body weight. Color-coded Doppler and Doppler spectra did not indicate flow disturbances in large arterial abdominal vessels.

Conclusions: Results indicate that handling during EC and sonography can cause discomfort in unsedated minipigs that may interfere with recording of valid reference values for functional cardiac parameters in young animals. Accustoming the animals to a standardized investigation procedure reduces stress to a satisfactory level and enables data recording. Thus the minipig is considered suitable for assessment of cardiovascular parameters in experimental or toxicologic studies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 August 2000

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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