The mechanism of intracardiac shunting in the lizard Varanus exanthematicus.
MetadataShow full item record
Intracardiac shunting was studied in unanaesthetized and unrestrained specimens of Varanus exanthematicus by simultaneous injection of radioactively labelled microspheres (15 micron) into the right and left atria. Lung ventilation was monitored by intratracheal pneumotachography. It was found that intracardiac shunting was not significantly affected by the spontaneously occurring periods of ventilation and apnoea: the right-to-left shunt averaged 29 and 31%, respectively, and the left-to-right shunt was 11% in both conditions. The observed shunting, although rather constant with time and independent of the ventilatory state, varied in different individuals. Anatomical studies and intracardiac pressure measurements revealed that, in spite of crocodilian-like systolic pressure separation between pulmonary and systemic circulation (based on the muscular ridge, 'Muskelleiste', between cavum venosum and cavum pulmonale), the cavum venosum is shared by both the pulmonary and the systemic circulation. Intracardiac shunting appears to be mainly due to wash-out of the cavum venosum: blood remaining in this chamber at the end of systole (oxygenated) or at the end of diastole (deoxygenated) is washed into the respective 'inadequate' vascular bed during the next half-cycle of heart action. Thus the extent of intracardiac shunting is expected to depend primarily on the volume and the changes in volume of the cavum venosum during the cardiac cycle.
CitationThe Journal of experimental biology.1983 Jul;105:15-31
Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology, University of Nairobi