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Hemodynamic and histologic characterization of a swine (Sus scrofa domestica) model of chronic pulmonary arterial hypertension.

The purpose of this work was to develop and characterize an aortopulmonary shunt model of chronic pulmonary hypertension in swine and provide sequential hemodynamic, angiographic, and histologic data by using an experimental endoarterial biopsy catheter. Nine Yucatan female microswine (Sus scrofa domestica) underwent surgical anastomosis of the left pulmonary artery to the descending aorta. Sequential hemodynamic, angiographic, and pulmonary vascular samples were obtained. Six pigs (mean weight, 22.4±5.3 kg; mean age, 7.3±2.7 mo at surgery) survived long-term (6 mo) and consistently developed marked pulmonary arterial hypertension. Angiography showed characteristic central pulmonary arterial enlargement and peripheral tortuosity and pruning. The biopsy catheter was safe and effective in obtaining pulmonary endoarterial samples for histologic studies, which showed neointimal and medial changes. Autopsy confirmed severe pulmonary vascular changes, including concentric obstructive neointimal and plexiform-like lesions. This swine model showed hemodynamic, angiographic, and histologic characteristics of chronic pulmonary arterial hypertension that mimicked the arterial pulmonary hypertension of systemic-to-pulmonary arterial shunts in humans. Experimental data obtained using this and other models and application of an in vivo endoarterial biopsy technique may aid in understanding mechanisms and developing therapies for experimental and human pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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