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J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2003 Nov;16(11):1150-7.

Temporal changes in ventricular function assessed echocardiographically in conscious and anesthetized mice.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-6300, USA.


The mouse is an important model system for cardiovascular biology, with echocardiography a critical tool for noninvasive measurement of cardiac morphology and function. The feasibility and short-term temporal consistency of repeated echocardiographic measurements in conscious mice has not been previously evaluated. We performed serial 2-dimensional guided M-mode transthoracic echocardiographic measurements at 5- to 10-minute intervals over 60 minutes in conscious mice and in mice treated with 1 of 3 anesthetic regimens: ketamine and acepromazine (n = 14); pentobarbital (n = 14); and ketamine and xylazine (n = 13). Unanesthetized mice received intraperitoneal saline (n = 6) or no injection (n = 7). In sequentially repeated measurements over 1 hour in conscious mice, none of the measured or derived echocardiographic parameters differed from baseline, whereas all 3 anesthetic regimens produced significant, prolonged, and temporally variable decreases in heart rate and fractional shortening. The relationship between heart rate and fractional shortening was not altered by anesthetic choice. Serial echocardiographic assessments of cardiac function, dimension, and mass can be performed with high reproducibility in conscious mice.

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