Early predictors of cardiac decompensation in experimental volume overload
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In humans, volume overload (VOL) increases the risk of sudden cardiac death, but there is also important inter-individual variability, presumably because of differences in genetic backgrounds. Although VOL has rapid effects on myocardial properties, it is not known to which extent the severity of these early responses correlate with the effect of sustained VOL on mortality. In order to test this question, we induced VOL in male rats from two genetically distinct strains [i.e., Sprague–Dawley (SD) and Wistar Kyoto-derived Hyperactive (WKHA) rats] by creating a surgical aorto-caval fistula (ACF). Only 36% of SD rats remained alive after 39 weeks of ACF, in contrast to 82% of the operated WKHA rats. We also monitored myocardial hemodynamic function, mitochondrial properties, left ventricular (LV) morphology and LV wall diastolic properties at different times ranging from 2 to 12 weeks after either ACF or sham surgery. ACF had a rapid impact on the LV walls of both rat strains, but the only variables that were affected to a greater extent in the mortality-prone SD strain were normalized LV weight, LV cavity area, and myocardial wall stiffness. In contrast, there were only marginal strain-related differences in the way ACF affected hemodynamic and mitochondrial functions. Thus, while early morphologic responses of LV walls to ACF (along with their downstream consequences on myocardial diastolic wall stress) correlated well with strain-dependent differences in late mortality, other functional changes showed no predictive effects. Close monitoring of early changes in cardiac geometry (as well as new methods to analyze myocardial diastolic strain) might, therefore, be helpful to further improve risk stratification in humans with volume overload cardiopathies.
KeywordsVolume overload cardiopathy Congestive heart failure Animal models Cardiac risk predictors Cardiac remodeling Genetic factors
This study was supported by grants MOP-74460 and MOP-62694 from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR). YB is a Junior II Investigator of the Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRSQ). We acknowledge the contribution of the FRSQ Cardiovascular Health Network for the ACF surgeries and follow-up hemodynamic investigations.
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