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J Pediatr. 1987 Oct;111(4):579-87.

Cardiovascular effects of patent ductus arteriosus in preterm lambs with respiratory distress.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


We created a model for studying the cardiovascular and pulmonary effects of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in premature lambs with respiratory distress. In 47 fetal lambs at 129 to 133 days gestation (term, 145 days), we infiltrated the ductus arteriosus with formalin and placed a mechanical occluder about it so that its patency could be regulated. Two days later the lambs were delivered, given sheep surfactant, paralyzed, and their lungs mechanically ventilated. These premature lambs could more than double their left ventricular output when challenged with increasing degrees of left-to-right shunts through the PDA. This was accomplished by an increase in stroke volume, not by an increase in heart rate. During the 40-minute observation period, there was no change in dynamic compliance or functional residual capacity while the ductus was patent. When the ductus was patent, there was a significant increase in arterial PaO2 (even with small left-to-right shunts) and a decrease in PaCO2 (with large shunts). Despite the heart's ability to handle the increased volume load of a PDA, there were significant alterations in individual organ blood flows, resulting from a combination of decreased perfusion pressure and localized vasoconstriction. The abdominal organs had significant reductions in blood flow even with small PDA shunts. This decrease in organ blood flow may explain some of the pathophysiologic manifestations of PDA in preterm infants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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