An innovative ovine model of severe cardiopulmonary failure supported by veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

S. Heinsar, J.S. Jung, S.M. Colombo, S. Rozencwajg, K. Wildi, K. Sato, C. Ainola, X.M. Wang, G. Abbate, N. Sato, W.B. Dyer, S.A. Livingstone, L.P. Pimenta, N. Bartnikowski, M.J.P. Bouquet, M. Passmore, B. Vidal, C. Palmieri, J.D. Reid, H.M. HaqqaniD. McGuire, E.S. Wilson, I. Ratsep, R. Lorusso, J.Y. Suen, G. Li Bassi*, J.F. Fraser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Refractory cardiogenic shock (CS) often requires veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) to sustain end-organ perfusion. Current animal models result in heterogenous cardiac injury and frequent episodes of refractory ventricular fibrillation. Thus, we aimed to develop an innovative, clinically relevant, and titratable model of severe cardiopulmonary failure. Six sheep (60 +/- 6 kg) were anaesthetized and mechanically ventilated. VA-ECMO was commenced and CS was induced through intramyocardial injections of ethanol. Then, hypoxemic/hypercapnic pulmonary failure was achieved, through substantial decrease in ventilatory support. Echocardiography was used to compute left ventricular fractional area change (LVFAC) and cardiac Troponin I (cTnI) was quantified. After 5 h, the animals were euthanised and the heart was retrieved for histological evaluations. Ethanol (58 +/- 23 mL) successfully induced CS in all animals. cTnI levels increased near 5000-fold. CS was confirmed by a drop in systolic blood pressure to 67 +/- 14 mmHg, while lactate increased to 4.7 +/- 0.9 mmol/L and LVFAC decreased to 16 +/- 7%. Myocardial samples corroborated extensive cellular necrosis and inflammatory infiltrates. In conclusion, we present an innovative ovine model of severe cardiopulmonary failure in animals on VA-ECMO. This model could be essential to further characterize CS and develop future treatments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20458
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2021




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