Output power and metabolic input power of skeletal muscle contracting linearly to compress a pouch in a mock circulatory system

L. A. Geddes*, S. F. Badylak, W. A. Tacker, W. Janas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Output power and metabolic input power values were determined for unconditioned canine latissimus dorsi (two), gastrocnemius (seven), and triceps (three) muscles contracting linearly to cause compression of a doubly valved pouch in a hydraulic model of the circulation. The motor nerves to the muscles were stimulated tetanically with 450 msec trains of 0.1 msec pulses having a frequency of 50/sec. The muscles were contracted 10, 20, 30, and 40 times per minute and pouch output in milliliters per minute was measured directly for each muscle at each contraction (train) rate. The output power in milliwatts was determined by two methods: (1) by using the pouch output and the pressure rise imparted to the stroke volume (average power) and (2) by using the pressure-volume loop. Metabolic input power in milliwatts was determined from the oxygen consumption in milliliters per minute of the working muscle. It was found that as the pouch output was increased, the pouch output power and the metabolic input power both increased. The average power output was slightly less than that computed from the pressure-volume loop. The mean output power values, when pumping at L liters per minute, were 0.62 L (average) and 0.75 L mW/gm (pressure-volume loop) for the latissimus dorsi muscles; 0.83 L (average) and 1.16 L mW/gm (pressure-volume loop) for the gastrocnemius muscles; and 0.55 L (average) and 0.66 L mW/gm (pressure- volume loop) for the triceps muscles. The percent efficiency of energy conversion ranged from 9.2% to 17.8% for the latissimus dorsi muscles, from 5.1% to 19.5% for the gastrocnemius muscles, and from 10.5% to 27.3% for the triceps muscles. However, it should not be concluded that one muscle type is better than another on the basis of percent efficiency because efficiency does not take endurance into account. An important observation in this study relates to the large output obtained with the three linearly contracting muscle types. All were capable of pumping in excess of 1.5 L/min. A second observation relates to the absence of fatigue, although determination of endurance was not an objective in these studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1435-1442
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


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