Thermal quantification of regional myocardial perfusion and heat generation

E. J. Hernandez, J. K. Hoffman, M. Fabian, J. H. Siegel, R. C. Eberhart

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11 Scopus citations


A technique for experimental determination of regional myocardial blood flow and heat generation has been developed, based on a heat-clearance method. This method allows repetitive and frequent measurements of regional blood flow without necessity for biopsy or microspheres. Testing was performed on a pedicle preparation, an intact segment of left ventricular myocardium dependent on a single diagonal coronary artery and situated in situ in the left ventricular free wall. Total blood flow to the pedicle was measured by an electromagnetic flow probe. A specially designed 3-thermistor microprobe was positioned in the pedicle to continuously sense temperature changes in the subepicardium, midmyocardium, and subendocardium. The theory underlying this method is based on a heat balance that includes local myocardial heating, conduction, and convection. Comparison of the predicted time- and position-dependent temperature with that measured experimentally allows extraction of the local myocardial blood flow and heating rates. This method allows resolution of differential flows in subendocardial, midmyocardial, and subepicardial myocardium and provides quantification of dynamic flow changes in each layer in response to various stimuli such as ischemia or pressor agents, without in itself causing damage to the myocardial microvasculature. These data show total flow, based on summation of thermally calculated regional flows, to have correlation coefficients of 0.88 with both the flowmeter and microsphere results. Resting flow values for Nembutal-anesthetized, open-chest dogs of 0.66 ml/(g.min) compare favorably wth values obtained by microsphere studies. Infusion of norepinephrine increased total flow and all layer flows, but the increase in subendocardial flow with norepinephrine was less than the increase of the other layers, perhaps accounting for the vulnerability of this region during catecholamine stress. Local myocardial heating rates in subepicardial, midendocardial, and subendocardial layers are shown to follow the same dependence on local myocardial blood flow in response to anoxic stress or norepinephrine-induced vasodilation. Specifically, local heating rate increases to a factor of 10 at flow below resting level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H345-H355
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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