Abdominal/ thoracic blood vessel

Technique

Appropriate for all strains of rat, this is a suitable technique to obtain a single, large, good-quality blood sample from a euthanised rat or a rat under terminal anaesthesia. A sample size of 5-10 ml can be collected from the hepatic portal vein, or 10-15 ml from other abdominal/thoracic vessels, depending on the size of the rat. As the heart is not punctured, this technique can be used where it is necessary to avoid damage to the heart.

Blood is collected either from the abdominal aorta, caudal or dorsal aorta, vena cava or hepatic portal vein which are accessed via a laparotomy or thoracotomy. Removal of connective tissue and application of finger pressure is necessary to dilate the vessel. Blood should be withdrawn slowly to prevent the vessel collapsing. Deep surgical anaesthesia is necessary unless the rat is dead.

A video of this technique is available (hepatic portal vein) - contact the NC3Rs via enquiries@nc3rs.org.uk.

Summary

Number of samples One
Sample volume Up to 10 ml from the hepatic portal vein, or 15 ml from other abdominal/thoracic vessels, depending on the size of the rat.
Equipment 19 - 21G needle
Staff resource One person is required to take the sample.

Resources and references

Abdominal/thoracic blood vessel sampling in other animals

Click here for information on abdominal/thoracic blood vessel blood sampling in the mouseClick here for information on abdominal/thoracic blood vessel blood sampling in the guinea pig

All blood sampling techniques in the rat

Click here for information on blood vessel cannulation in the ratClick here for information on tail vein blood sampling in the ratClick here for information on jugular vein blood sampling in the ratClick here for information on saphenous vein blood sampling in the ratClick here for information on retro-orbital blood sampling techniques in the ratClick here for information on using a temporary cannula for blood sampling in the ratClick here for information on cardiac puncture blood sampling in the ratClick here for information on schedule 1 stunning followed by decapitation for blood sampling in the ratClick here for information on decapitation blood sampling techniques in the rat