Reference values for echocardiographic parameters and indexes of left ventricular function in healthy, young adult sheep used in translational research: comparison with standardized values in humans

Int J Clin Exp Med. 2011;4(4):258-64. Epub 2011 Oct 22.


Ovine models of ischemic heart disease and cardiac failure are increasingly used in translational research. However, reliable extrapolation of the results to the clinical setting requires knowing if ovine normal left ventricular (LV) function is comparable to that of humans. We thus assessed for echocardiographic LV dimensions and indexes in a large normal adult sheep population and compared them with standardized values in normal human adults. Bidimensional and tissue Doppler echocardiograms were performed in 69 young adult Corriedale sheep under light sedation. LV dimensions and indexes of systolic and diastolic function were measured. Absolute and body surface areanormalized values were compared to those for normal adult humans and their statistical distribution was assessed. Normalized dimensions (except for end diastolic diameter) as well as ejection fraction and fractional shortening fell within the ranges established by the American Society of Echocardiography and European Association of Echocardiography for normal adult humans. Normalized end diastolic diameter exceeded the upper normal limit but got close to it when correcting for the higher heart mass/body surface area ratio of sheep with respect to humans. Diastolic parameters also fell within normal human ranges except for a slightly lower mitral deceleration time. All values exhibited a Gaussian distribution. We conclude that echocardiographic parameters of systolic and diastolic LV performance in young adult sheep can be reliably extrapolated to the adult human, thus supporting the use of ovine models of human heart disease in translational research.

Keywords: Echocardiography; left ventricular function; ovine models of heart disease; sheep.