Objectives. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of supraventricular pacing tachycardia on left ventricular function and myocardial structure in newborn, immature pigs and to determine whether immature pigs respond to suproventricular tachycardia differently from adults.Background. Previous studies have shown that supraventricular tachycardia causes dilated cardiomyopathy in adult animals; however, in humans, supraventricular tachycardia-induced congestive heart failure occurs most frequently in children and newborns. Because some clinical diseases may cause myocardial failure in adults but rarely do so in children, it was hypothesized that the effects of supraventricular tachycardia in newborns may be different from those in adults.Methods. In two groups of newborn swine (3 weeks of age), left ventricular volume, mass and function were assessed with simultaneous echocardiography and cardiac catheterization and myocardial structure was examined with light and electron microscopy. Six piglets underwent 3 weeks of left atrial pacing tachycardia (240 beats/min) and six littermates served as a control group. Both groups were followed up for 3 weeks.Results. At the end of the protocol, left ventricular dimensions increased in the piglets with supraventricular tachycardia compared with values in the control group, but there were no differences in left ventricular mass. Systolic function, assessed by fractional shortening, peak ejection rate and maximal rate of pressure development, was decreased in the group with supraventricular tachycardia. The fractional shortening-end-systotic stress relation in the piglets with supraventricular tachycardia decreased below normal values. Left ventricular diastolic function assessed by the relaxation time constant was prolonged, the peak filling rate was decreased and left ventricular stiffness was increased in the supraventricular tachycardia group. The morphologic data demonstrated that supraventricular tachycardia did not change total myocyte volume but did decrease total myofibrillar volume.Conclusions. Supraventricular tachycardia caused dilated cardiomyopathy in immature pigs. These changes in left ventricular function were associated with a decrease in cellular contractile proteins. Thus, the effects of supraventricular tachycardia on left ventricular function and structure in immature animals were comparable to previous findings in mature animals.