Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Color flow Doppler echocardiography in healthy racing pigeons (Columba livia f. domestica) and the evidence of physiological blood flow vortex formations

In avian medicine, Doppler sonographic techniques are used to visualize and estimate blood flow in the heart. In the literature there is a lack of standardized studies of the use of color Doppler flow on healthy avian species. For this purpose, we examined blood flow in the heart in the four-chamber view of clinically healthy awake racing pigeons (n = 43) by color flow Doppler sonography. With this technique the diastolic and systolic blood flow in the heart chambers and the heart valve regions were well visualized. However, the pulse repetition frequency must be adapted to the specific blood flow velocities of the heart region to be measured to reduce aliasing in higher velocities and to visualize blood flow of lower velocities. With the help of color Doppler imaging in the four-chamber view, typical physiological atrial and ventricular blood flow vortex formations were visualized in the avian heart for the first time. In the left ventricle an asymmetric vortex ring in the passive and active ventricular filling, in the right ventricle a great counter-clockwise blood vortex in the active ventricular filling, in the left atrium a vortex clockwise, and in the right atrium counter-clockwise were observed. The knowledge of these physiological blood flow vortices is important to identify pathological blood flow.

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