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Encyclopedia of Experiments: Biology

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Mouse Echocardiography: A Non-invasive Technique to Assess Cardiac Morphology



First, apply echocardiography gel to the ultrasound transducer and to the shaved chest of an anesthetized mouse secured to a warming plate. Place the transducer to the left of the sternum, facing the right side of the neck, to obtain a view through the heart called the parasternal long-axis view.

Turn the transducer 90 degrees clockwise for the parasternal short-axis view. Using this view, record M-mode images to capture movement of the heart over time as it beats. To measure the dimensions of the left ventricle, identify four landmark tissue-fluid interfaces on the recorded images.

These are the interface between the right ventricular cavity and the anterior wall of the left ventricle; between this wall and the left ventricular cavity; between this cavity and the posterior wall of the left ventricle; and between this wall and the pericardium.

Then, calculate the distances between these four interfaces. Repeat the same measurements when the heart is in diastole, or is relaxed, and when it is in systole, or is contracted.

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