An isolated working heart system for large animal models.


Since its introduction in the late 19(th) century, the Langendorff isolated heart perfusion apparatus, and the subsequent development of the working heart model, have been invaluable tools for studying cardiovascular function and disease(1-15). Although the Langendorff heart preparation can be used for any mammalian heart, most studies involving this apparatus use small animal models (e.g., mouse, rat, and rabbit) due to the increased complexity of systems for larger mammals(1,3,11). One major difficulty is ensuring a constant coronary perfusion pressure over a range of different heart sizes - a key component of any experiment utilizing this device(1,11). By replacing the classic hydrostatic afterload column with a centrifugal pump, the Langendorff working heart apparatus described below allows for easy adjustment and tight regulation of perfusion pressures, meaning the same set-up can be used for various species or heart sizes. Furthermore, this configuration can also seamlessly switch between constant pressure or constant flow during reperfusion, depending on the user's preferences. The open nature of this setup, despite making temperature regulation more difficult than other designs, allows for easy collection of effluent and ventricular pressure-volume data.





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Publication Info

Schechter, Matthew A, Kevin W Southerland, Bryan J Feger, Dean Linder, Ayyaz A Ali, Linda Njoroge, Carmelo A Milano, Dawn E Bowles, et al. (2014). An isolated working heart system for large animal models. J Vis Exp(88). 10.3791/51671 Retrieved from

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Kevin William Southerland

Assistant Professor of Surgery

Bryan Feger

Medical Writer, Sr

A scientist with basic and clinical research training, who is passionate about supporting Duke investigators and strengthening research integrity. 


Carmelo Alessio Milano

Joseph W. and Dorothy W. Beard Distinguished Professor of Experimental Surgery

Dawn Elizabeth Bowles

Assistant Professor in Surgery

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