Study objectives: The aims of this study were: to evaluate the performance of a novel arterial biopsy catheter in obtaining pulmonary endovascular samples in hypertensive dogs; to compare the results of pulmonary endoarterial biopsy in hypertensive vs normotensive dogs; and to assess the histologic changes in the hypertensive model.
Design and interventions: Thirty-four dogs (27 with normal pulmonary arterial pressures and seven with pulmonary hypertension) were catheterized through an external jugular vein to obtain endovascular biopsy samples from distal pulmonary arteries 2 to 3 mm in luminal diameter. To induce pulmonary hypertension, seven dogs were given repeated infusions of 0.6- to 0.9-mm ceramic microspheres into the superior vena cava. Endoarterial samples were obtained at pulmonary systolic arterial pressures ranging from 10 to 110 mm Hg.
Measurements and results: Sixty-two biopsy catheterization procedures were performed in the 34 dogs. After 12 initial procedures of technique refinement, endoarterial samples were obtained in each of the last 50 procedures (21 in normotensive dogs and 29 in hypertensive dogs). The average number of endovascular biopsy samples retrieved was 7.1 (range, 2 to 12) from a mean of 8.6 (range, 2 to 15) biopsy attempts per catheterization (success rate=83%). The average biopsy piece measured 1.13 mm in length, 0.33 mm in depth, and up to 1.0 mm in width. The biopsy success rates and endoarterial sample sizes were similar in normotensive and hypertensive dogs. Smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells were grown from the biopsy samples. There were no significant procedural complications, except for one self-limited hemorrhage. Histologically, samples obtained from dogs with pulmonary hypertension showed characteristic changes when compared with biopsies from normotensive dogs.
Conclusion: This new endoarterial biopsy catheter was safe and effective when used to obtain pulmonary endoarterial samples in dogs with normal and experimentally elevated pulmonary arterial pressures. The quality and quantity of the biopsy samples allowed identification of pathologic changes.