Testing the efficacy of pharmacological agents in a pericardial target delivery model in the swine

Tinen L Iles, Brian Howard, Stephen Howard, Stephen Quallich, Christopher Rolfes, Eric Richardson, Hanna R. Iaizzo, Paul A Iaizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


To date, many pharmacological agents used to treat or prevent arrhythmias in open-heart cases create undesired systemic side effects. For example, antiarrhythmic drugs administered intravenously can produce drops in systemic pressure in the already compromised cardiac patient. While performing open-heart procedures, surgeons will often either create a small port or form a pericardial cradle to create suitable fields for operation. This access yields opportunities for target pharmacological delivery (antiarrhythmic or ischemic preconditioning agents) directly to the myocardial tissue without undesired side effects. We have developed a swine model for testing pharmacological agents for target delivery within the pericardial fluid. While fully anesthetized, each animal was instrumented with a Swan-Ganz catheter as well as left and right ventricle pressure catheters, and pacing leads were placed in the right atrial appendage and the right ventricle. A medial sternotomy was then performed and a pericardial access cradle was created; a plunge pacing lead was placed in the left atrial appendage and a bipolar pacing lead was placed in the left ventricle. Utilizing a programmer and a cardiac mapping system, the refractory period of the atrioventricular node (AVN), atria and ventricles was determined. In addition, atrial fibrillation (AF) induction was produced utilizing a Grass stimulator and time in AF was observed. These measurements were performed prior to treatment, as well as 30 min and 60 min after pericardial treatment. Additional time points were added for selected studies. The heart was then cardiopleged and reanimated in a four chamber working mode. Pressure measurements and function were recorded for 1 hr after reanimation. This treatment strategy model allowed us to observe the effects of pharmacological agents that may decrease the incidence of cardiac arrhythmias and/or ischemic damage, during and after open-heart surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere52600
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number113
StatePublished - Jul 7 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Journal of Visualized Experiments.


  • Antiarrhythmic
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Epicardial
  • Ischemic protection
  • Issue 113
  • Medicine
  • Pericardial
  • Refractory period
  • Target drug delivery


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