Objective: Numerous models of acute and chronic left ventricular dysfunction have been used over the years. However, few can produce a rapid onset of global systolic and diastolic dysfunction that is stable and potentially reversible. The aim of this study was to develop such a model. Methods: A model of left ventricular dysfunction was produced in six intact dogs using 1% halothane anaesthesia and pharmacological autonomic blockade with atropine (0.1 mg·kg-1) and propranolol (2 mg·kg-1). Left ventricular function was assessed by combined high fidelity pressure and cinemagnetic resonance imaging (cine-MR) during increases in afterload using infusions of angiotensin. Results: Left ventricular systolic dysfunction was characterised by a diminished resting ejection fraction of 45(SD 4)% and a depressed +dP/dtmax of 1537(100) mm Hg·s-1. Diastolic dysfunction was manifested by an increased left ventricular end diastolic pressure of 16(2) mm Hg, a decreased -dP/dtmax of -1705(369) mm Hg·s-1, and a prolonged time constant of left ventricular relaxation of 42(9) ms. As left ventricular systolic pressure steadily rose with angiotensin infusion from 87(7) to 124(13) to 152(10) mm Hg (p<0.001), left ventricular ejection fraction decreased markedly from 45(4) to 35(4) to 27(4)% (p<0.001). Left ventricular +dP/dtmax did not change [1537(100) to 1500(110) to 1498(84) mm Hg·s-1] in spite of a significant increase in left ventricular end diastolic pressure from 16(2) to 21(5) to 29(7) mm Hg (p<0.001) and left ventricular end diastolic volume from 59(12) to 71(14) to 78(17) ml (p<0.001). Individual slopes of the end systolic pressure- volume relationship were also low, ranging between 2.1 and 4.4 mm Hg·s-1 (r=0.99 to 1.00), typical of impaired contractility. Conclusions: Halothane anaesthesia in dogs pretreated with large amounts of propranolol and appropriate muscarinic cholinergic blockade produces a moderate decrease in baseline systolic and diastolic function in our intact dog model. However, left ventricular systolic function showed limited contractile reserve when challenged by physiological increases in systemic arterial pressure. Impaired systolic and diastolic function may, at least in part, be related to diminished activator calcium produced by halothane in addition to the well known negative inotropic action of β adrenergic blockade.Cardiovascular Research 1993;27:974-979.