Matonick JP. Ex vivo pulsed heart model for cardiac surgical and interventional product development and training. Paper presented at: The Three Rs - Together it's possible. 8th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences; 2011 Aug 21-25; Montreal, Canada


An ex vivo pulsed heart model was developed to simulate a beating heart in an operating room environment. The heart and aorta of the pig was obtained from a local abattoir. The use of discarded organs increases the overall use of the animal and reduces the need for dedicated research animals.
The objective was to develop a clinically relevant beating heart model with direct visualization of the intra-cardiac structures for development of surgical and interventional products as well as education and training. The heart was perfused with saline that circulated along the natural blood flow pathway with inflow through the left atrium and outflow through the aortic valve. The pump function of the heart was achieved through a changing left ventricular volume that developed a left ventricular pressure pulse. The preload and afterload were created from separate hydrostatic columns and reservoirs that also provided system compliance and pulse damping of pump induced artifacts. Solid-state micro-pressure transducers were located in the left atrium, left ventricle, and aortic root to provide real time pressure monitoring and phase relationships. Left ventricle volume and pressure modulation were controlled with an external piston pump through an apical balloon cannula.
The model simulated an operating room environment with anatomical orientation of the heart and aorta on the surgical table, cardiac surgical instruments, ultrasound imaging equipment, and cardiopulmonary bypass extra-corporal pumps. Laparoscopic cameras positioned in the left atrium, left ventricle, and aortic root provided direct visualization of intra-cardiac structures such as the mitral and aortic valves, atrial appendage, intraventricular septum, chordae tendinea, papillary muscles, etc. High-resolution cameras provided imaging of native valve function, surgical techniques, prosthetic devices, and the coronary ostium for catheterization.
The ex vivo pulsed heart model simulated a beating heart in an operating room environment for product development and training. The use of harvested porcine hearts may be reanimated to approximate in vivo conditions for evaluation of device performance while reducing the use of live animals for research.


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Link to journal: ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation