We have assessed serial changes in myocardial contractility and reserve in the normal lamb over the first month of life using an in vivo adaptation of the end-systolic pressure-volume relationship. Via a left thoracotomy, we insert a catheter tip pressure transducer into the left ventricle, affix an echo transducer onto the left ventricular epicardium, place an electromagnetic flow transducer around the pulmonary artery, and insert catheters for monitoring and infusions. We measure contractility by generating left ventricular wall stress-volume index (the cube of dimension) curves, at the same time increasing afterload by infusing phenylephrine. The slope of the end-systolic wall stress-volume index relationship is our index of contractility. Weekly studies were performed at rest and during isoproterenol infusion in 12 animals, and after propranolol administration in four. The data showed a progressive decrease in resting contractility but no change in maximal contractility during isoproterenol infusion over the 4 wk. Taking each week separately, the average increase in contractility during isoproterenol infusion was small at 1 wk (13%), moderate at 2 and 3 wk (24 and 26%, respectively), and large at 4 wk (79%). β-Adrenergic blockade with propranolol caused a significant decrease in contractility in three of four animals studied at 1 wk, in only one of four animals at 2 wk, and in none of four animals at 3 or 4 wk. Thus, the newborn lamb shows a limited reserve in contractility that increases progressively with age; the limited reserve appears secondary to a high resting β-adrenergic state.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health