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Nat Protoc. 2008;3(9):1422-34. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2008.138.

Measurement of cardiac function using pressure-volume conductance catheter technique in mice and rats.

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Section on Oxidative Stress Tissue Injury, Laboratories of Physiological Studies, National Institutes of Health/NIAAA, 5625 Fishers Lane, MSC-9413, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-9413, USA.


Ventricular pressure-volume relationships have become well established as the most rigorous and comprehensive ways to assess intact heart function. Thanks to advances in miniature sensor technology, this approach has been successfully translated to small rodents, allowing for detailed characterization of cardiovascular function in genetically engineered mice, testing effects of pharmacotherapies and studying disease conditions. This method is unique for providing measures of left ventricular (LV) performance that are more specific to the heart and less affected by vascular loading conditions. Here we present descriptions and movies for procedures employing this method (anesthesia, intubation and surgical techniques, calibrations). We also provide examples of hemodynamics measurements obtained from normal mice/rats, and from animals with cardiac hypertrophy/heart failure, and describe values for various useful load-dependent and load-independent indexes of LV function obtained using different types of anesthesia. The completion of the protocol takes 1-4 h (depending on the experimental design/end points).

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