An in situ perfused crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) heart preparation was used to examine the mechanical responses of the heart to increases in adrenaline concentration, to a decrease in oxygen tension and to opening of the pericardium. Starling and power curves were constructed before and after these experimental manipulations. Increasing adrenaline concentration in the perfusate from 5 nmol l-1 to 0.5 µmol l-1 produced a significant increase in heart rate and a decrease in stroke volume, leaving cardiac output unchanged. With maximal adrenergic stimulation, the left ventricle was able to generate greater power outputs at high right aortic output pressures; however, the right ventricle showed a decrease in performance with increasing output pressure. Decreasing the PO2 of the perfusate to 10 kPa resulted in a significant bradycardia. Both the flow and pressure-generating capabilities of the perfused heart preparation were reduced, although the heart was able to maintain low work levels at this PO2. Opening the pericardium permitted greater movement/expansion of the cardiac chambers and resulted in an increase in heart rate. Higher flows were generated at low filling pressures during the input pressure challenge as a result of an increase in the sensitivity of the Starling response.

This content is only available via PDF.