Doppler echocardiography and tissue Doppler imaging in the healthy rabbit: differences of cardiac function during awake and anaesthetised examination.

Department of Cardiology and Angiology, University Hospital Münster, Germany.
International journal of cardiology (Impact Factor: 6.18). 03/2007; 115(2):164-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2006.03.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In the past years, Doppler echocardiography has evolved into a commonly used technique. More recent sophisticated advances in imaging quality have substantially improved spatial and temporal resolution allowing the adaptation of this technique to small animal models, particularly in rabbits but even in mice. Recently, parameters obtained by Tissue Doppler Imaging (TDI) have been shown to be more independent of pre- and afterload than classic hemodynamic Doppler measurements. Exploration of animal models may require anaesthesia but there is only very little information on the effect of anaesthesia on echocardiographic parameters in rabbits.
We therefore performed Doppler-echocardiographic examinations of 20 wild-type New Zealand White rabbits in awake state and under light ketamine-xylazine anaesthesia. Special focus was put on the evaluation of global and regional left ventricular systolic and diastolic function using TDI and the myocardial performance index (Tei-index).
Doppler-echocardiographic measurements including TDI in rabbits were feasible to assess cardiac morphology and function within a short examination time. There were some distinct changes of functional parameters during anaesthesia. Exemplary for systolic function, fractional shortening, cardiac output and systolic TDI velocity of the lateral wall decreased distinctly. Global left ventricular function measured by the Tei-index deteriorated.
Doppler echocardiography and TDI can be performed easily, quickly and safely in the rabbit. Anaesthesia with the cardiodepressive ketamine-xylazine shows some distinct Doppler-echocardiographically measurable negative effects on cardiac function. Thus, echocardiography with less cardiodepressive anaesthetic regimes or even without anaesthesia after training of the animals should be considered as alternatives whenever possible.

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