Exercise-induced pulmonary perfusion redistribution in heaves


Equine Sports Medicine Centre, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Bat B42, Sart-Tilman, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium.


This study aimed to compare exercise-induced pulmonary perfusion redistribution in healthy vs. ‘heavey’ horses using scintigraphy, a minimally invasive technique. Six healthy (A) and 5 ‘heavey’ horses in remission (BI) and during clinical signs of disease (BII) were investigated. Dimensions of the exercising pulmonary perfusion (QE) images were expressed in percent of the resting perfusion (QR) images. Computed QE to QR ratios (QE/QR) images enabled the definition of the region more perfused at exercise than at rest (R1).

In all groups, exercise induced a major enlargement of the Q image but a larger increase of the lung height was found in ‘heavey’ horses. Compared to A, ‘heavey’ horses showed a larger R1 region with a significantly higher QE/QR. Location of R1 pointed out the dorsal lung region as a major site of pulmonary perfusion redistribution for all groups.

This work demonstrated (1) the feasibility of using scintigraphy for studying exercise-induced pulmonary perfusion redistribution; (2) perfusion redistribution to the dorsal lung with exercise and (3) an intensified redistribution in ‘heavey’ horses, either clinically affected or not.