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Indian J Orthop. 2014 Mar;48(2):184-92. doi: 10.4103/0019-5413.128763.

Effect of thoracic arthrodesis in prepubertal New Zealand white rabbits on cardio-pulmonary function.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatric Surgery, Universitys Hospital Estaing, 1 Place Lucie et Raymond Aubrac, 63003, Clermont Ferrand, France ; Faculty of Medicine, University of Auvergne, 28 place Henri-Dunant BP 38 63001 Clermont-Ferrand, France.
  • 2Faculty of Medicine, University of Montpellier, 2 Rue de l'Ecole de Medecine, 34000 Montpellier, France.
  • 3Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, Animal Facility, Via Valerio 28, 34127 Trieste, Italy.
  • 4Department of Research and Innovation (CRCI), Biostatistic Unit, University Hospital of Clermont Ferrand, Clermont Ferrand, France.
  • 5Veterinary Clinic, Via Campos 192, 33030 Maiano (UD), Italy.
  • 6University of Udine, Via Palladio 8, 33100 Udine, Italy.



This experimental study was aimed at evaluating the type of cardiac and pulmonary involvement, in relation to changes of the thoracic spine and cage in prepubertal rabbits with nondeformed spine following dorsal arthrodesis. The hypothesis was that T1-T12 arthrodesis modified thoracic dimensions, but would not modify cardiopulmonary function once skeletal maturity was reached.


The study was conducted in 16 female New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits. Nine rabbits were subjected to T1-T12 dorsal arthrodesis while seven were sham-operated. Echocardiographic images were obtained at 12 months after surgery and parameters for 2-dimensional and M-mode echocardiographic variables were assessed. One week before echocardiographic examination, blood samples were withdrawn from the animals' central artery of the left ear to obtain blood gas values. One week after echocardiographic assessment, a thoracic CT scan was performed under general anesthesia. Chest depth (CD) and width (CW), thoracic kyphosis (ThK) and sternal length (StL) were measured; thoracic index (ThI), expressed as CD/CW ratio. All subjects were euthanized after the CT scan. Heart and lungs were subsequently removed to measure weight and volume.


The values for 2-dimensional and M-mode echocardiographic variables were found to be uniformly and significantly higher, compared to those reported in anesthetized rabbits. CD, ThK, and StL were considerably lower in operated rabbits, as compared to the ones that were sham-operated. Similarly, the ThI was lower in operated rabbits than in sham-operated ones.


Irregularities in thoracic cage growth resulting from thoracic spine arthrodesis did not alter blood and echocardiographic parameters in NZW rabbits.


New Zealand white rabbits; Thoracic arthrodesis; cardio-pulmonary function

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