A Piglet Perinatal Asphyxia Model to Study Cardiac Injury and Hemodynamics after Cardiac Arrest, Resuscitation, and the Return of Spontaneous Circulation

J Vis Exp. 2023 Jan 13;(191). doi: 10.3791/64788.


Neonatal piglets have been extensively used as translational models for perinatal asphyxia. In 2007, we adapted a well-established piglet asphyxia model by introducing cardiac arrest. This enabled us to study the impact of severe asphyxia on key outcomes, including the time taken for the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC), as well as the effect of chest compressions according to alternative protocols for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Due to the anatomical and physiological similarities between piglets and human neonates, piglets serve as good models in studies of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and hemodynamic monitoring. In fact, this cardiac arrest model has provided evidence for guideline development through research on resuscitation protocols, pathophysiology, biomarkers, and novel methods for hemodynamic monitoring. Notably, the incidental finding that a substantial fraction of piglets have pulseless electrical activity (PEA) during cardiac arrest may increase the applicability of the model (i.e., it may be used to study pathophysiology extending beyond the perinatal period). However, the model generation is technically challenging and requires various skill sets, dedicated personnel, and a fine balance of the measures, including the surgical protocols and the use of sedatives/analgesics, to ensure a reasonable rate of survival. In this paper, the protocol is described in detail, as well as experiences with adaptations to the protocol over the years.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asphyxia
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum* / therapy
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation* / methods
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Heart Arrest* / therapy
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Return of Spontaneous Circulation
  • Swine