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High carbon dioxide tension (PCO2) and the incidence of cardiac arrhythmias in rapidly growing broiler chickens
  1. M. Korte, PhD1,
  2. A. Sgoifo, PhD2,
  3. W. Ruesink, Ing1,
  4. C. Kwakernaak, Ing1,
  5. S. van Voorst1,
  6. C. W. Scheele, PhD1 and
  7. H. J. Blokhuis, PhD1
  1. 1 Institute for Animal Science and Health (IDDLO), Department of Behaviour, Stress Physiology and Management, Edelhertweg 15, PO Box 65, NL-8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Dipartimento di Biologia Evolutiva & Funzionale, Sezione Fisiologia, Viale delle Scienze, Universita di Parma, 43100 Parma, Italy


The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether two-week-old rapidly growing broiler chickens with high metabolic activity have an increased risk of the development of heart failure three to five weeks later. The incidence of cardiac arrhythmias was assessed in broiler chickens with either a relatively high carbon dioxide tension (PCO2) or a low PCO2 in their venous blood. Their electrocardiograms (ECGS) were measured when the birds were between five and seven weeks old by means of a biotransplant which allowed them to move freely. Premature ventricular beats were observed in all the birds, but the largest numbers were observed in birds that had had a high PCO2 when they were two weeks old.

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