Assessment of cardiac function is essential to conduct cardiovascular and pulmonary-vascular preclinical research. Pressure-volume loops (PV loops) generated by recording both pressure and volume during cardiac catheterization are vital when assessing both systolic and diastolic cardiac function. Left and right heart function are closely related, reflected in ventricular interdependence. Thus, recording biventricular function in the same animal is important to get a complete assessment of cardiac function. In this protocol, a closed chest approach to cardiac catheterization consistent with the way catheterization is performed in patients is adopted in mice. While challenging, the closed chest strategy is a more physiological approach, because opening the chest results in major changes in preload and afterload that create artifacts, most notably a fall in systemic blood pressure. While high-resolution echocardiography is used to assess rodents, cardiac catheterization is invaluable, particularly when assessing diastolic pressures in both ventricles.
Described here is a procedure to perform invasive, closed chest, sequential left and right ventricular pressure-volume (PV) loops in the same animal. PV loops are acquired using admittance technology with a mouse pressure-volume catheter and pressure-volume system acquisition. The procedure is described, beginning with the neck dissection, which is required to access the right jugular vein and the right carotid artery, to the insertion and positioning of the catheter, and finally the data acquisition. Then, the criteria required to ensure the acquisition of high-quality PV loops are discussed. Finally, the analysis of the left and right ventricular PV loops and the different hemodynamic parameters available to quantify systolic and diastolic ventricular function are briefly described.