Lipták, B., Kaprinay, B., Gáspárová, Z. 2017. A rat-friendly modification of the non-invasive tail-cuff to record blood pressure. Lab Animal 46(6), 251-253.
In animal models, blood pressure measurement methods can be either invasive (direct) or non-invasive (indirect). The non-invasive alternative involves applying a tail-cuff for blood pressure measurement. Current standardized restraint methods involve confining the laboratory animal in plastic chambers, which can lead to panic and anxiety in the animals. We developed a modified technique for restraint during tail-cuff blood pressure measurements. We tested whether our technique would be sufficient to significantly reduce the burden on the animal during the procedure while yielding precise blood-pressure data, compared to classical restraint using a plastic box container. The quality of recordings and duration (3-6 min) were comparable between the two techniques. Stress was greater during the classical restraint. The mean arterial blood pressure value obtained following classical restraint was higher than during covered restraint. We also observed a mild mean increase in heart rate using the classic restraint, correlated with behavioral manifestations. Our results indicate that animals can be stressed and struggle while arresting them using a plastic box container. The gentle arrestment of the animal using a cover sheet reduces such stress and discomfort to the laboratory rat, as demonstrated. We found that the laboratory rat behaves more naturally when left to explore and to position itself comfortably under a cover sheet that is then gently held by the experimenter. We consider our new technique for tail-cuff blood pressure measurement to be a reasonable alternative to classic plastic restraints that yields, in our opinion, more realistic results than the classical technique.