Langendorff Heart

a computer simulation of experiments which may be performed on the isolated, perfused mammalian heart

David Dewhurst and Malachy Doherty


This program is highly interactive and simulates experiments, which may be performed on the isolated perfused mammalian heart (Langendorff preparation). Introduction and Methods sections cover the removal of the heart , setting it up to record ventricular contractile force, heart rate and coronary blood flow and the administration of drugs.

In the Experiments section simulated data, derived from actual data, is presented on a screen display which emulates a chart recorder. Students 'design' experiments by choosing, from a menu, a range of pharmacological agents which may be administered either alone, or in combination with an antagonist or potentiator. Each trace represents several minutes of recording and thus allows students to access a large amount of data in a short period of time. A facility to compare traces of 'drug X alone' with drug X + antagonist Y or drug X + potentiator Z is available. This allows easy visual comparison of qualitative effects and of course more accurate measurements can be taken from the screen.

The program covers:

1 effects of drugs: sympathomimetics (adrenaline, noradrenaline, salbutamol, clonidine, phenyl-ephrine, dobutamine) antagonists (propranolol, yohimbine atenolol, prazosin, butoxamide, phentolamine) potentiators (cocaine); parasympathomimetics (acetylcholine, carbachol, methacholine, nicotine) antagonists (atropine, amitryptyline, hexamethonium) potentiator (neostigmine); cardiac glyco-sides (digoxin, ouabain); coronary vasodilators (nitrogly-cerine, adenosine (antagonists: theophylline, dipyridamole), histamine (antagonists: cimetidine, mepyramine), verapamil;

2. effect of ions: (high and low concentrations of calcium, potassium and sodium);

3. effect of increasing pre-load on contractile (ventricular) force (Starlings Law).

The simulated responses (heart rate, ventricular force and coronary blood flow) are derived from actual experimental data and presented in high resolution colour graphics in a form comparable to that of a chart recorder. The program contains textual information describing the preparation and experimental method and an editable on screen help facility allows teachers to tailor the information-content of the program to specific groups of students. The package also includes suggested student assignments.

It is envisaged that the program could be used in a number of ways: to better prepare students who will the perform the practical at a later date; to debrief students after they have performed the practical; as a ‘fallback’ to provide data for students whose experiments were unsuccessful; as an alternative to the practical, though it should be remembered that different learning objectives may be achieved.

Review of Langendorff Heart

Language Versions: English / Chinese / Serbian / Spanish

Recommended System Requirements:

  • Windows:
    • Microsoft Windows XP (32 bit), Windows Server 2003 (32-bit), Windows Server 2008 (32 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit), Windows 8
    • 2.33GHz or faster x86-compatible processor, or Intel Atom 1.6GHz or faster processor for netbooks
    • 128MB of RAM (1GB of RAM recommended for netbooks); 128MB of graphics memory
    • Internet Explorer 7.0 or later, Mozilla Firefox 4.0 or later, Google Chrome, Safari 5.0 or later, or Opera 11
  • Mac OS:
    • Mac OS X v10.6, v10.7, or v10.8
    • Intel Core Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
    • 256MB of RAM; 128MB of graphics memory
    • Safari 5.0 or later, Mozilla Firefox 4.0 or later, Google Chrome, or Opera 11

Target Audience: Undergraduate medical/pharmacology/pharmacy students.

Price: £250 (multiuser, educational license)

ISBN 1-874758-09-3
©2008 Sheffield Bioscience Programs

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