Serial left-ventricular biopsy sampling using a minimally invasive trans-thoracic approach in adult dogs

Dirk W. Donker, Jos G. Maessen, Roel L. H. Spätjens, Theo van der Nagel, Monique Maria de Jong, Frans C. Ramaekers, Harry J. G. M. Crijns, Marc A. Vos, Paul G. A. Volders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Myocardial biopsies are an increasingly important tool to unravel the molecular mechanisms of cardiac disease. We evaluate a novel minimally invasive trans-thoracic approach for left-ventricular (LV) intra-mural biopsies, which enables repetitive individual sampling in adult dogs. Forty three generally anaesthesised dogs were studied during sinus rhythm (SR, control) and multiple times after the induction of volume overload hypertrophy (complete atrioventricular block [AVB]). Through a small cutaneous incision, an automatic biopsy needle was advanced into the apicolateral LV, guided by fluoroscopy. Electrocardiography (ECG), LV pressure and echocardiography served to monitor the procedure. One hundred eighty-eight intra-mural LV biopsies were obtained in 82 serial experiments (usually SR, 1, 2 and 6 weeks AVB) with a maximum of 8 repeated biopsies. All biopsies (similar to 10 mm(3)) were suitable for simultaneous application of different cell-biological (light and electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry) and molecular techniques (PCR, Western blotting). In chronic experiments, repeated biopsy sampling did not influence haemodynamics, mechanics, electrocardiographic parameters or myocardial remodelling during SR or AVB. The rate of significant complications was as low as 4% of experiments. Minimally invasive sampling of LV needle biopsies enables serial assessment of myocardial remodelling using different molecular techniques in individual animals. The technique is safe and has no long-term effects on cardiac function or structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1043-1051
JournalPflugers Archiv-European Journal of Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007


  • instruments and techniques
  • myocardial biopsy
  • myocardial remodelling
  • ventricles


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