Pulmonary Arterial Pressure Test Information

Pulmonary Arterial Pressure test known as PAP is a test that measures the animal’s ability to thrive at high elevations or in certain feeding conditions.  Animals with high PAP scores at high elevations are prone to heart failure and death if not identified.  

The leading authority for PAP measurements is Dr. Tim Holt from Colorado State University. Dr. Holt has been testing “Pot of Gold” bulls since 1991 and has helped us identify bulls that are genetically prone to higher PAP scores or have had some kind of environmental influence that caused the heart and lungs to not function properly.  For instance, calves that have had a respiratory infection are more apt to have compromised lungs and have reduced function that can lead to a stressed heart that would be expressed as a high-risk PAP score. 

By testing whole herds of cattle we have found high PAP scores can be genetically inherited.  Those family lines have been removed from our herds.

For more information on the genetic correlations:

Advancements in Efficiency and Adaptability: Pulmonary Hypertension 

To get an accurate measurement animals must be tested at least at 5,500 feet in elevation. The higher the elevation at testing time, the more accurate the measurement will be.  Animals that exhibit high scores, which in our sale we consider over 45, may have a risk of heart failure if they are moved to a higher elevation. 

Cattle breeds that originated from high mountain areas such as the Continental breeds have fewer problems due to natural selection than breeds that originated from lower elevations such as the British breeds or bos indicus breeds. 

In the last few years, a correlation of feedlot death loss at low elevations just prior to harvesting has been linked to cattle lines that PAP tested high.  It makes sense that those cattle that genetically have reduced heart, lung, and circulatory function will be at greater risk when fed a high-energy ration that adds fat to the already restricted system. Bulls that are tested at proper elevations and found to be low for PAP will have offspring that are less likely to die from heart failure in a feedlot environment.

Gelbvieh is a breed that excels in low PAP scores. Even if you are at a low elevation using cattle with low PAP scores or breeds that excel in having low PAP scores you can reduce the risk of death loss.  If you are a cattle feeder or a commercial cattleman that retains ownership and want less death loss in the feedlot look to Gelbvieh influenced cattle to save you money.

Dr. Holt has provided a PAP score and elevation chart for reference in choosing bulls for your particular environment.

Information on PAP scores and PAP EPD’s go to:


 Dr. Holts presentation at the Beef Improvement Foundation meeting in 2023:

Advancements in Efficiency and Adaptability: Pulmonary Hypertension  

 General information on PAP scores and how they affect cattle:


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