Myocardial Infarct Size and Ventricular Function in Rats

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To define the relationship between infarct size and ventricular performance, we performed hemodynamic studies in rats 21 days after left coronary artery occlusion. Ventricular performance was assessed under ether anesthesia by measurements of baseline hemodynamics and stressed performance as determined by the peak cardiac output and stoke volume obtained during intravenous volume loading and by the peak left ventricular developed pressure obtained during occlusion of the ascending aorta. Infarct size was determined by planimetry of the endocardial circumference of each of four histological slices of the left ventricle. Rats with small (4-30%) myocardial infarctions had no discernible impairment in either baseline hemodynamics or peak indices of pumping and pressuregenerating ability when compared to the sham-operated, noninfarcted rats. Rats with moderate (31−46%) infarctions had normal baseline hemodynamics but reduced peak flow indices and developed pressure. Rats with infarctions greater than 46% had congestive heart failure, with elevated filling pressures, reduced cardiac output, and a minimal capacity to respond to pre- and afterload stresses. The entire spectrum of postinfarction ventricular function was observed, from no detectable impairment to congestive failure. In this model of histologically healed myocardial infarction, the impairment of left ventricular function was directly related to the loss of myocardium. Circ Res 44: 503-512, 1979

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