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As per the requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), all Class III medical devices, devices that are used invasively, must first be tested on animal models before moving on to clinical trials.

This requirement begs the question, "Which animal model should be chosen to obtain relevant information; information that can be extrapolated from the animal model to humans?"

While the choice of model comes down to factors of cost, quality and quantity of data, familiarity with the model, and relevance to the human condition, a commonly overlooked factor is the comparative cardiac anatomy of the animal model relative to that of humans (2). Because the anatomy of the heart has a great influence on function, it is important to identify animal cardiac models that most resemble humans in this regard. Despite this fact, comparative cardiac anatomy of animal models is a largely unexplored topic.

In this tutorial, we will examine the comparative anatomy of several major large mammalian cardiovascular research models and humans to better understand each model’s relevance to cardiac research.

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