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Although cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the captive chimpanzee population, little is known about the prevalence and etiology of heart disease in this species. We reviewed the physical exam records of 265 common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) for electrocardiogram abnormalities. During the 24-mo period reviewed (August 2003 through August 2005), 34 animals were diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmias consisting of ventricular arrhythmias, supraventricular arrhythmias, conduction disturbances, mixed arrhythmias, and bradycardia. The incidence of cardiac arrhythmia was significantly higher in male animals, chimpanzees 20 to 39 y old, and those with structural heart disease. Incidence of cardiac arrhythmia was not significantly higher in animals with hypertension, hyperlipidemia, or chronic viral infections. During the retrospective period, 7 animals with cardiac arrhythmias died or were euthanized. Mortality was significantly higher in animals with ventricular arrhythmias compared with those without ventricular arrhythmias. We conclude that in the common chimpanzee, age, male gender, and structural heart disease are risk factors for developing cardiac arrhythmias and that ventricular arrhythmias are risk factors for mortality.
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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