Danforth, M. D., Clyde, V. L., Jourdan, B. et al. 2023. Blood pressure monitoring in zoologically managed bonobos (Pan paniscus). American Journal of Primatology 85(3), e23474.

In response to the growing evidence that hypertension may play a significant role in the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in bonobos, the Great Ape Heart Project established a finger blood pressure (BP) monitoring protocol for zoo-housed bonobos. The ability to monitor BP without the use of anesthesia provides more opportunities to detect potential hypertension in its early stages allowing for therapeutic intervention that may slow the progression of CVD. No BP reference ranges exist for bonobos due to the lack of an established protocol, the difficulty of measuring BP in animals, and small sample size of zoo-housed bonobos. By working with all 8 institutions in North America that care for bonobos, it was possible to (1) investigate the feasibility of using finger BP devices, and (2) establish BP trends for male and female bonobos. Data were collected from May 2016 to March 2019. Zoos were asked to train for and collect BP measurements from any bonobos willing to participate, regardless of age, sex, or health status as well as to report on the quality of the training and measurements obtained. At the start of the study, the North American bonobo population consisted of 74 bonobos ages 5 years and older at 8 institutions. All 8 institutions submitted at total of 3656 BP readings from 50 bonobos (n = 23 females, n = 27 males; ages 5−51 years) representing 67.57% of the trainable population ages 5 years and older. Of the readings submitted, 2845 were determined to be good quality, reliable BP readings (77.81% useful BP measurements) for 36 of the 50 adult bonobos submitted for this study (59.01% of the adult population ages 10−51 years) but showed limitations in the protocol for the younger population. BP trend analysis showed significant differences between bonobos that were not on medication versus those treated with cardiac medications, with those on cardiac mediations having significantly higher systolic arterial pressure, diastolic arterial pressure, and mean arterial pressure (p ≤ 0.001 for all comparisons). Systolic BP generally increased over age classes (10−19, 20−29, 30−39, 40+ years).

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