The mechanism of adaptation of left atrial stretch receptors in dogs with chronic congestive heart failure

I. H. Zucker, A. M. Earle, J. P. Gilmore

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121 Scopus citations


Chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) was induced in dogs by the construction of an aorto-caval fistula below the level of the renal arteries. Aorto-caval fistula dogs showed signs of CHF which included ascites, hind limb edema, and pulmonary congestion. Ventricular catheterization indicated a significantly higher left ventricular end diastolic pressure and lower maximum velocity of left ventricular pressure development/left ventricular end diastolic pressure in CHF dogs when compared to sham-operated controls. Heart weight/body weight ratios were significantly higher in CHF dogs. Electrophysiological recordings from medullated left atrial type B receptors from the cervical vagus indicated a depressed sensitivity of these receptors in CHF dogs when compared to sham-operated control dogs. For any given change in left atrial pressure, the discharge of left atrial receptors was significantly reduced in CHF dogs compared with sham-operated controls. The mechanism for this depressed sensitivity was investigated. Sonomicrometry of the left atrial appendage indicated a decreased compliance of the left atrial appendage in the dogs with chronic CHF. In addition, microscope examination of the complex unencapsulated receptor endings taken from the left atrial endocardium indicated a marked alteration in receptor morphology. A loss of the end arborization was the most typical finding. It is concluded that chronic CHF brought about by an aorto-caval fistula results in a depressed left atrial stretch receptor response and that both decreased left atrial compliance and structural alterations in the receptor endings may account for this depressed sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-331
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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