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Rat model of veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

Ayyaz A Ali1, Peter Downey1, Gopal Singh1, Wei Qi1, Isaac George1, Hiroo Takayama1, Ajay Kirtane12, Prakash Krishnan3, Adrian Zalewski1, Darren Freed6, Stephen R Large5, Euan A Ashley4, Martin B Leon12, Matthew Bacchetta1 and Ziad A Ali12*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Interventional Vascular Therapy, Division of Cardiology, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University, 161 Fort Washington Avenue, Herbert Irving Pavilion, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10032, USA

2 Cardiovascular Research Foundation, New York, NY, USA

3 Zena and Michael A. Weiner Cardiovascular Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustav Levy Place, New York, NY 10029, USA

4 Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Stanford University, 870 Quarry Road, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

5 Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Papworth Hospital and University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB23 3RE, United Kingdom

6 University of Alberta and Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, 8440 112 St NW, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P4, Canada

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Journal of Translational Medicine 2014, 12:37  doi:10.1186/1479-5876-12-37

Published: 7 February 2014



We aim to develop a rat model of veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO).


VA-ECMO was established in twelve Male Sprague-Dawley rats (250-350 g) through cannulation of the right jugular vein for venous drainage and the right femoral artery for arterial reinfusion. Arterial blood pressure was measured using a conductance catheter through cannulation of the left carotid artery. Heart rate was monitored by electrocardiography and arterial blood gas parameters with a blood gas analyzer. The VA-ECMO circuit was tested by subjecting the rats to hypoxic cardiac arrest with resuscitation using VA-ECMO. Both load-dependent and load-independent measures of myocardial contractility were measured using pressure-volume loop analysis to confirm restoration of myocardial function post-resuscitation.


Following hypoxic cardiac arrest VA-ECMO provided sufficient oxygenation to support the circulation. The haemodynamic and blood gas parameters were maintained at transition and during ECMO. All animals were resuscitated, regained cardiac function and were able to be weaned off ECMO post-resuscitation.


We have established a safe, high-throughput, economical, functioning rat model of VA-ECMO.

ECMO; Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; Resuscitation; Cardiac arrest