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Ultrasound Med Biol. 1997;23(5):761-5.

Thresholds for premature contractions in murine hearts exposed to pulsed ultrasound.

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  • 1Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Rochester, NY 14627, USA.


A single pulse of high intensity ultrasound can produce either a premature ventricular contraction or a reduction in the aortic pressure in frog hearts. The objective of this study was to determine whether similar ultrasound exposures can produce premature contractions in the mammalian heart. The cardiac activity of murine hearts in vivo was monitored noninvasively using electrocardiography and plethysmography. Each ultrasound exposure was a single pulse of ultrasound, several milliseconds in duration, delivered to the murine heart during diastole. The thresholds for producing a premature contraction with a 5-ms ultrasound pulse at 1.2 MHz was approximately 2 MPa peak positive pressure. The occurrence of premature contractions decreased as the duration of the ultrasound pulse decreased. These results found with the mammalian heart are similar to those reported earlier for the frog heart. No damage to cardiac tissue was observed grossly, although significant hemorrhage occurred to adjacent lung tissue.

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