Noninvasive assessment of heterotopic heart transplants using Doppler echocardiography was first described in two patients by Allen at Stanford in 1981. Since then, numerous experiments studying heterotopic heart transplantation in humans and large animals have confirmed its utility by employing either an intra-abdominal or cervical model. In rats, however, prior research investigating intra-abdominal heterotopic hearts has showed echocardiography to be ineffective. We have recently developed a new technique for heterotopic femoral heart transplantation in rats, which employs the novel use of trans-femoral echocardiography. Therefore, our goal was to re-examine the efficacy of echocardiography for detection of graft rejection.
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