Colour-flow and pulsed-wave spectral Doppler echocardiography was performed on 6 healthy, adult Hispaniolan amazon parrots (Amazona ventralis) and 6 blue-fronted amazon parrots (Amazona a. aestiva) to establish normal reference values. Birds were anesthetized with isoflurane in oxygen and placed in dorsal recumbency. An electrocardiogram was recorded continuously and birds were imaged with a micro-phased-array scanner with a frequency of 7.0 MHz. After assessment of cardiac function in 2-D-echocardiography, blood flow across the left and the right atrioventricular valve and across the aortic valve was determined using color-flow and pulsed-wave spectral Doppler echocardiography. Diastolic inflow (mean value +/- standard deviation) into the left ventricle was 0.17 +/- 0.02 m/s (Hispaniolan amazons) and 0.18 +/- 0.03 m/s (Blue fronted amazons). Diastolic inflow into the right ventricle was 0.22 +/- 0.05 m/s (Hispaniolan amazons) and 0.22 +/- 0.04 m/s (Blue fronted amazons). Velocity across the aortic valve was 0.84 +/- 0.07 m/s (Hispaniolan amazons) and 0.83 +/- 0.08 m/s (Blue fronted amazons). Systolic pulmonary flow could not be detected in any of the birds in this study. No significant differences were evident between the two species examined. Results of this study indicate that Doppler echocardiography is a promising technique to determine blood flow in the avian heart. Further studies in other avian species are needed to establish reference values for assessment of cardiac function in diseased birds.
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