Many experimental procedures involve thoracotomies because of the common usage of swine in cardiovascular research. The reasons for using swine in these types of studies are the similarities in anatomy and physiology which are shared with humans. Common areas of cardiopulmonary research include hemodynamics, myocardial infarction, heart failure models, device testing, grafting techniques, wound healing and respiratory physiology. There are species-specific considerations to which the surgeon must pay attention to avoid complications and to achieve adequate surgical exposure.
M. Michael Swindle, DVM, Professor and Chairman, Department of Comparative Medicine, Medical University of SC, Charleston, SC 29425