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The cardiovascular challenges in giraffes

Giraffes are the highest living animals on Earth and therefore are challenged by gravity more than any other species. In particular the cardiovascular system needs to adapt to this challenge. Giraffes have a mean blood pressure around 200 mmHg, which ensures a mean arterial pressure near the head of 100 mmHg when the giraffe is standing with the neck in a near vertical position. This immediately raises several questions. How do giraffes avoid edema in the legs where the arterial

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The thick left ventricular wall of the giraffe heart normalises wall tension, but limits stroke volume and cardiac output

Giraffes – the tallest extant animals on Earth – are renowned for their high central arterial blood pressure, which is necessary to secure brain perfusion. Arterial pressure may exceed 300 mmHg and has historically been attributed to an exceptionally large heart. Recently, this has been refuted by several studies demonstrating that the mass of giraffe heart is similar to that of other mammals when expressed relative to body mass. It thus remains unexplained how the normal-sized giraffe heart generates such

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