A quantitative study of the anatomy and distribution of coronary arteries in swine in comparison with other animals and man

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Summary: The coronary circulation of swine was studied to establish adequate baseline information for using swine in cardiovascular research. Of 65 hearts from domestic and miniature pigs, 45 were injected with a methacrylate plastic and prepared as coronary artery casts whose branches were described and measured, and 20 were injected with different coloured dyes in the right, left anterior descending, and circumflex coronary arteries so that horizontal sections of the heart showed the distribution of each artery and the source of blood supply to particular areas or structures of the heart. Like man, the swine had a left coronary artery that was larger in diameter and longer than the right coronary artery. The right coronary artery was almost always dominant (78%), supplying the posterior septum and atrioventricular node via the posterior descending coronary artery. Eight (17%) of the hearts possessed a balanced blood supply. Two (5%) hearts had a left dominant supply. The intracoronary artery dye injections showed that 72.4% of the right ventricular mass was supplied by the right coronary artery and 27.6% by the left anterior descending coronary artery. In the left ventricle 49% of the mass was supplied by the left anterior descending coronary artery, 25.5% by the right coronary artery, and 25.5% by the circumflex coronary artery. The left anterior descending coronary artery supplied 58% of the interventricular septal mass, while the posterior descending coronary artery supplied 42%. The distribution of the left anterior descending coronary artery branches to the ventricular wall varied inversely in number and size of its diagonal branches (2-9) with the obtuse marginal branches of the circumflex coronary artery which were occasionally more numerous or extended to the apex. The blood supply to the sinoatrial node was always by a branch of the right coronary artery. This analysis shows that not only the coronary anatomy but also the distribution of blood supply to particular areas or structures of the swine heart are very similar to that of humans.


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