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Electrocardiogram-gated Kilohertz Visualisation (EKV) Ultrasound Allows Assessment of Neonatal Cardiac Structural and Functional Maturation and Longitudinal Evaluation of Regeneration After Injury

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Original languageEnglish
JournalUltrasound in Medicine & Biology
Early online date4 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Nov 2019


The small size and high heart rate of the neonatal mouse heart makes structural and functional characterisation particularly challenging. Here, we describe application of electrocardiogram-gated kilohertz visualisation (EKV) ultrasound imaging with high spatio-temporal resolution to non-invasively characterise the post-natal mouse heart during normal growth and regeneration after injury. The 2-D images of the left ventricle (LV) acquired across the cardiac cycle from post-natal day 1 (P1) to P42 revealed significant changes in LV mass from P8 that coincided with a switch from hyperplastic to hypertrophic growth and correlated with ex vivo LV weight. Remodelling of the LV was indicated between P8 and P21 when LV mass and cardiomyocyte size increased with no accompanying change in LV wall thickness. Whereas Doppler imaging showed the expected switch from LV filling driven by atrial contraction to filling by LV relaxation during post-natal week 1, systolic function was retained at the same level from P1 to P42. EKV ultrasound imaging also revealed loss of systolic function after induction of myocardial infarction at P1 and regain of function associated with regeneration of the myocardium by P21. EKV ultrasound imaging thus offers a rapid and convenient method for routine non-invasive characterisation of the neonatal mouse heart.

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