Journal of Clinical Toxicology

Journal of Clinical Toxicology
Open Access

ISSN: 2161-0495

+44 1478 350008


Echocardiography a Non-Invasive Method for Investigating Preclinical Drug Toxicity and Safety

Gilles Hanton

Echocardiography (EC) is a method used for investigating cardiac morphology and function. Two-dimensional EC gives a visualization of the morphology of the heart. M-mode EC allows heart function to be monitored. Pulsed Doppler EC is the method of choice for measuring blood flows through valves and large vessels. EC is used in routine in clinic and veterinary practice but is infrequently applied to preclinical evaluation of drug toxicity and safety pharmacology despite a number of advantages. Since similar investigations can be done in laboratory animals and humans, preclinical and clinical findings can easily be transposed to each other. EC is totally non-invasive, it does not induce any suffering to the animals and has no impact on health and physiology. It allows repeated measurements and consequently monitoring of development and evolution of adverse effects. In this way, EC evaluates the functional adverse effects of drugs on the cardiovascular system and the consequences of induced lesions. Moreover, using the different modes of EC it is possible to determine the changes in heart contractility and hemodynamics that are involved in the development of cardiovascular lesions. This is illustrated by an experiment in dogs treated with minoxidil. The development of lesions in the right atrium and left ventricle were considered to be related to changes in the function of these cardiac structures as demonstrated by EC recordings. These findings confirm the usefulness of EC in assessing the pathogenesis of drug-related cardiac toxicity.