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Comparative analysis of ECG records depending on body position in domestic swine

Differences of ECG recordings mainly concern amplitude of the P, R waves


Electrocardiography is a method widely applied in diagnosing abnormalities in the functioning of the heart muscle in veterinary medicine. It is a non-invasive and easy to perform test helpful in general examinations and a widely used patient monitoring method during anesthesia.  

Since the 1980s, pigs have become more and more popular companion animals. Moreover, the pig is a widely used animal model in biomedical research. Therefore, there is a need to provide these animals with higher-quality veterinary services and emergency care. It creates new challenges for veterinarians and the need to expand their knowledge of pigs' treatment as pets.  

The aim of the study was to compare the ECG recordings made with two different body positions and determine if any differences occurred. Standard ECG in swine is performed under general anesthesia in the lying position on the left side. However, some procedures performed on swine require a different body position, for which there is less data in the literature.  

The study was carried out on 29 Polish landrace pigs weighing in the range of 33-44 kg. The tests were performed under general anesthesia with the same protocol for each animal, placing the animals first lying down on their right side, and then on their backs. The anesthesia protocol included medetomidine, midazolam, ketamine, and propofol. During the examination, ECG records were performed and analyzed in a 12-lead system with software support.  

The results show significant differences in electrocardiogram recordings depending on the animal's body position. Those differences mainly concern the amplitude of the P wave and R wave in the recordings and are even more visible comparing the electrocardiograms of the same specimen. There are also some significant differences in the duration of intervals. Based on the obtained results, reference ranges for the right lateral and dorsal positions were developed.  

The authors conclude that the body position has a significant impact on the ECG recording in swine. They suggest that while performing an examination, chosen normative value tables should be compatible with the position of the examined animal.

Marta Kawicka, et al. “Comparative analysis of ECG records depending on body position in domestic swine (Sus scrofa domestica).” Porcine Health Manag. 2022 Sep 19;8(1):39. doi: 10.1186/s40813-022-00282-x.

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