Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is among the most major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Great progress has been made in the management of CVD which has been influenced by the use of experimental animal models. These models provided information at cellular and molecular levels and allowed the development of treatment strategies. CVD models have been developed in many species, including large animals (e.g. pigs and dogs) and small animals (e.g. rats and mice). Although, no model can solely reproduce clinical HF, simulations of heart failure (HF) are available to experimentally tackle certain queries not easily resolved in humans.
Induced HF may also be produced experimentally through myocardial infarction (MI), pressure loading, or volume loading.
Volume loading is useful to look at hormone and electrolyte disturbances, while pressure loading models is helpful to study ventricular hypertrophy, cellular imbalance and vascular changes in HF. Coronary heart disease is assessed in MI animal models. In this review we describe various experimental models used to study the pathophysiology of HF.