During development of a rotary blood pump as an assist device, the efficacy of non pulsatile perfusion to the end organ has to be verified. However, there are few evaluations of two different perfusion mechanisms through the tissue microcirculation. In this study, the pulmonary microcirculation was analyzed by vital microscopic observation. Wistar rats weighing 400–500 g were anesthetized and ventilated by a respirator. After establishing right heart bypass from the right atrium to the pulmonary artery using a roller pump, the pulmonary microcirculation was observed during intravenous infusion of bovine albumin tagged with fluorescein isothiocyanate. The images were recorded on a videotape through an ultra-sensitive SIT TV camera. Initially, the pulmonary circulation was pulsatile, produced by the native heart, and the pulmonary capillary network was evenly perfused by the blood. After starting the pump, the flow became non pulsatile and the distribution of capillary perfusion was displaced to the short circuit connecting the pulmonary arterioles and venules. Flow distribution during non pulsatile perfusion was heterogeneous compared with pulsatile perfusion. This result suggests that non pulsatile flow may lead to the deterioration of function. Further investigation is necessary to evaluate the relationship between the microcirculation and organ function.
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