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A low mortality model of chronic pulmonary hypertension in sheep.
BACKGROUND: Pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular failure are major contributors to morbidity and mortality in chronic lung disease. Therefore, large animal models of pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular hypertrophy are needed to study underlying disease mechanisms and test new treatment modalities. The objective of this study was to create a low-mortality model of chronic pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular hypertrophy in sheep.
METHODS: The vena cavae of nine sheep weighing 62 ± 2 (SEM) kg were injected with 0.375 g of dextran beads (sephadex) every day for 60 d. Pulmonary hemodynamics were assessed via pulmonary artery catheterization prior to the first injection and again on d 14, 28, 35, 42, 49, and 56. At the end of the experiment, the heart was removed, dissected, and weighed to determine the ratio of right ventricular mass to left ventricle plus septal mass (RV:LV+S).
RESULTS: All sheep survived to 60 d. The average pulmonary artery pressure rose from 17 ± 1 mmHg at baseline to 35 ± 3 mmHg on d 56 with no significant change in cardiac output (8.7 ± 0.7 to 9.8 ± 0.7 L/min, P = 0.89). The RV:LV+S was significantly higher (0.42 ± 0.01, P < 0.001) than a historic group of untreated normal animals (0.35 ± 0.01, n = 13).
CONCLUSION: This study provides a low-mortality large animal model of moderate chronic pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular hypertrophy.