Skeletal muscle as the potential power source for a cardiovascular pump: assessment in vivo

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Science  17 Apr 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4799, pp. 324-327
DOI: 10.1126/science.2951849


Skeletal muscle ventricles (SMVs) were constructed from canine latissimus dorsi and connected to a totally implantable mock circulation device. The SMVs, stimulated by an implantable pulse generator, pumped continuously for up to 8 weeks in free-running beagle dogs. Systolic pressures produced by the SMVs, initially of 139 +/- 7.2 mmHg and after 1 month of continuous pumping of 107 +/- 7 mmHg, were comparable to normal physiologic pressures in the adult beagles (114 +/- 21 mmHg). After 2 weeks of continuous pumping, the mean stroke work of the SMVs was 0.4 X 10(6) ergs, a performance that compares favorably with the animal's cardiac ventricles. This study shows that canine skeletal muscle which has not received prior training or electrical conditioning can perform sustained work at the high levels needed for an auxiliary cardiovascular pump. It might be possible eventually to use such muscle pumps in humans to assist the failing circulation and to provide support in children with certain types of congenital heart defects.