The kangaroo as a model for the study of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in man

M. F. O'rourke*, A. P. Avolio, W. W. Nichols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Summary: In experiments in 14 anaesthetised kangaroos, 10 developed unexpected ventricular fibrillation and died. In seeking a cause for this, similarities were noted with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HC) in man. Like patients with this condition, kangaroos have unexplained left ventricular hypertrophy and are known to be susceptible to sudden death with excitement and exertion. Retrospective analysis of all data showed other features of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: unusually rapid left ventricular pressure development in systole (peak dP/df. kangaroo 3602 (SEM472); HC 1947(SEM172) mmHg·s-1), unusually slow left ventricular relaxation (exponential time constant: kangaroo 54(SEM7); HC 63 (SEM5) ms; relaxation time: kangaroo 128(SEM7); HC 112(SEM7) ms), and inappropriately long duration of mechanical systole in relation to ventricular depolarisation (393(SEM21) ms and 214(SEM15) ms respectively). A disparity between the duration of mechanical systole and electrical activation caused a type of incomplete tetanus to develop with ventricular extrasystoles, a phenomenon previously seen in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. These findings suggest that the kangaroo may be a useful experimental model for studying the fatal rhythm disturbances and abnormal ventricular dynamics in human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-402
Number of pages5
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • Ectopic activity
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Kangaroo
  • Sudden death
  • Ventricular fibrillation


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