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Pediatr Res. 2005 Jan;57(1):16-21. Epub 2004 Nov 5.

Systolic and diastolic ventricular function assessed by pressure-volume loops in the stage 21 venous clipped chick embryo.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Erasmus MC, 3015 GD Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Cardiac pressure-volume relations enable quantification of intrinsic ventricular diastolic and systolic properties independent of loading conditions. The use of pressure-volume loop analysis in early stages of development could contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between hemodynamics and cardiac morphogenesis. The venous clip model is an intervention model for the chick embryo in which permanent obstruction of the right lateral vitelline vein temporarily reduces the mechanical load on the embryonic myocardium and induces a spectrum of outflow tract anomalies. We used pressure-volume loop analysis of the embryonic chick heart at stage 21 (3.5 d of incubation) to investigate whether the development of ventricular function is affected by venous clipping at stage 17, compared with normal control embryos. Steady state hemodynamic parameters demonstrated no significant differences between the venous clipped and control embryos. However, analysis of pressure-volume relations showed a significantly lower end-systolic elastance in the clipped embryos (slope of the end-systolic pressure-volume relation: 5.68 +/- 0.85 versus 11.76 +/- 2.70 mm Hg/microL, p < 0.05), indicating reduced contractility. Diastolic stiffness tended to be increased in the clipped embryos (slope of end-diastolic pressure-volume relation: 2.74 +/- 0.56 versus 1.67 +/- 0.21, p = 0.103), but the difference did not reach statistical significance. The results of the pressure-volume loop analysis show that 1 d after venous obstruction, development of ventricular function is affected, with reduced contractility. Pressure-volume analysis may be applied in the chick embryo and is a sensitive technique to detect subtle alterations in ventricular function.

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