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Giraffe Cardiovascular Adaptations to Gravity

The physiological systems of animals have adapted to Earth’s gravity over the past hundreds of millions of years. In general, gravitational adaptations of the cardiovascular system are more pronounced in terrestrial specieswith greater height and thus greater gravity-dependent gradients of blood pressure from head to feet. For example, dinosaurs (1), tree-climbing snakes (2), giraffes (3), and other tall animals have evolved mechanisms to provide adequate blood flow and nutrition to their brains while restricting blood flow and tissue swelling in

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The Remarkable Cardiovascular System of Giraffes

Gravity affects the physiology of many animals, and the effect is, for good reason, most pronounced in tall species. The physiology—in particular, cardiovascular function—of giraffes has therefore captivated the interest of physiologists for centuries. Several studies document high mean arterial blood pressure of giraffes of about 200 mm Hg. This appears necessary to establish a cerebral perfusion pressure on the order of 100mmHg at the cranial end of the carotid arteries. Here, we discuss the unique characteristics of blood vessels,

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Blood pressure and flow rate in the giraffe jugular vein

Experimental measurements in the jugular veins of upright giraffes have shown that the internal pressure is somewhat above atmospheric and increases with height above the heart. A simple model of steady viscous flow in an inverted U-tube shows that these observations are inconsistent with a model in which the blood vessels in the head and neck are effectively rigid and the system resembles a siphon. Instead, the observations indicate that the veins are collapsed and have a high resistance to

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Harvey Cushing and the regulation of blood pressure in giraffe, rat, and man: introducing ‘Cushing’s mechanism’

The fundamental mechanism that underlies essential hypertension is a high total peripheral resistance. We review here possible origins of high total peripheral resistance in physiologically hypertensive giraffes, spontaneously hypertensive rats and humans with essential hypertension. We propose that a common link could be reduced brainstem perfusion, as first suggested by Cushing in 1901. Any tendency towards reduction of cerebral blood flow to the cardiovascular control centres in rest and sleep will be prevented by activation of a response arising in

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Accuracy of noninvasive anesthetic monitoring in the anesthetized giraffe (Giraffe camelopardalis)

This study evaluated the accuracy of pulse oximetry, capnography, and oscillometric blood pressure during general anesthesia in giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis). Thirty-two giraffes anesthetized for physiologic experiments were instrumented with a pulse oximeter transmittance probe positioned on the tongue and a capnograph sampling line placed at the oral end of the endotracheal tube. A human size 10 blood pressure cuff was placed around the base of the tail, and an indwelling arterial catheter in the auricular artery continuously measured blood pressure.

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