The Embryo Heart is Not a Peristaltic Pump

  • Branko Furst


Propulsive myocardial peristalsis in the chick embryo has been the subject of investigation ever since the myogenic contractions of the embryo heart were first described in the nineteenth century. They have traditionally been assumed to be the mechanical cause for impelling the blood around the circuit. The peristaltic wave originates in sinus venosus and follows the direction of blood flow in the tubular heart. Recent studies have demonstrated that the flow of blood through the early embryo heart exceeds the velocity of contraction wave and speak against the heart being a propulsion pump. Cardiac jelly works as a pinchcock valve which rhythmically interrupts the flow of blood prior to the development of functional valves.


Peristaltic pump Valveless embryo heart Cardiac jelly Liebau pump principle Dynamic suction pump Contraction wave Blood flow reversal Ejection fraction 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Branko Furst
    • 1
  1. 1.Professor of AnesthesiologyAlbany Medical CollegeAlbanyUSA

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