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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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Left Ventricular Morphology of the Giraffe Heart Examined by Stereological Methods

The giraffe heart has a relative mass similar to other mammals, but generates twice the blood pressure to overcome the gravitational challenge of perfusing the cerebral circulation. To provide insight as to how the giraffe left ventricle (LV) is structurally adapted to tackle such a high afterload, we performed a quantitative structural study of the LV myocardium in young and adult giraffe hearts. Tissue samples were collected from young and adult giraffe LV. Design-based stereology was used to obtain unbiased

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