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  • Author or Editor: Neil K. Harpster x
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Abstract

Objective—To assess the frequency of heart murmurs in overtly healthy cats.

Design—Prospective study.

Sample Population—103 healthy domestic cats.

Procedure—Background information and physical characteristics were assessed in cats that were candidates for blood donation during an 8-month period. For cats with heart murmurs, additional information collected included murmur timing, grade, point of maximal intensity, and presence of additional heart sounds.

Results—Heart murmurs were detected in 22 of the 103 (21%) cats. Echocardiography was performed in 7 of those 22 cats. The echocardiogram was considered normal in 1 cat; in the other 6 cats, diagnoses included hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (interventricular septal hypertrophic form [IVSH]; n = 4), left ventricular concentric hypertrophy with valvular disease (1), and equivocal IVSH (1). Thirteen cats had more than 1 examination during the study; 3 of them developed heart murmurs. There were no significant differences in age, sex, breed, coat color, eye color, or heart rate between cats with and without murmurs. Among the 103 cats, there were 6 pairs of siblings from 6 multiple- cat households and 16 cats from 7 multiple-cat households in which the cats were not related; the proportion of cats with murmurs was higher in the related cats (5/12) than in the unrelated cats (3/16), but the difference was not significant.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that heart murmurs are detectable in a large proportion of overtly healthy cats and that many murmurs appear to be caused by structural heart disease that is in a clinically latent state. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:384–388)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine signalment, clinical signs, diagnostic findings, treatment, and outcome for cats with atrial fibrillation (AF).

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—50 cats.

Procedure—Medical records of cats that met criteria for a diagnosis of AF (ECG consisting of at least 2 leads, clear absence of P waves, supraventricular rhythm, and convincingly irregularly irregular rhythm) and had undergone echocardiography were reviewed.

Results—There were 41 males (37 castrated) and 9 females (7 spayed). Forty-one were of mixed breeding; 9 were purebred. Mean ± SD age was 10.2 ± 3.7 years. The most common chief complaints were dyspnea, aortic thromboembolism, and lethargy. In 11 cats, AF was an incidental finding. Mean ± SD ventricular rate was 223 ± 36 beats/min. The most common echocardiographic abnormalities were restrictive or unclassified cardiomyopathy (n = 19), concentric left ventricular hypertrophy (18), and dilated cardiomyopathy (6). Mean ± SD left atrial-to-aortic diameter ratio (n = 39) was 2.55 ± 0.80. The most common thoracic radiographic findings were cardiomegaly, pleural effusion, and pulmonary edema. Median survival time (n = 24) was 165 days (range, 0 to 1,095 days). Eight of 24 cats lived for ≥ 1 year after a diagnosis of AF was made.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that AF occurs primarily in older adult male cats with structural heart disease severe enough to lead to atrial enlargement. Atrial fibrillation in these cats was most commonly first detected when signs of decompensated cardiac disease were evident, but also was commonly identified as an incidental finding. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:256–260)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association