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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1982 Feb 1;142(3):316-22.

Supraventricular tachycardia with edema, ascites, and hydrops in fetal sheep.


Continuous supraventricular tachycardia was induced in 13 fetal sheep for 72 to 216 hours. The PaO2 decreased from 18.1 +/- 1.2 (SEM) to 15.4 +/- 0.9 mm Hg and the PaCO2 increased from 41.5 +/- 1.2 (SEM) to 46.0 +/- 1.0 (SEM) mm Hg with pacing. The hematocrit, total protein, albumin, serum [Na+] and [K+], and osmolality remained unchanged throughout the study. All study fetuses showed signs of ascites (mean = 88 +/- 67.5 [SD] ml), and one was grossly hydropic. Six fetuses, all of which had greater than or equal to 50 ml of ascites, died as the results of pacing. Gross pathologic findings in 13 fetuses included: cardiomegaly in seven, cyanotic myocardium in two, hepatomegaly in seven, pulmonary congestion in two, generalized edema in three, and massive edema (hydrops) in one. None of these conditions was found in the 14 control animals. There was no correlation of the severity of effects upon the fetus and the induced heart rate, the duration of tachycardia, or the site of implantation of the pacemaker. The conclusion was that organomegaly, generalized edema, and hydrops fetalis were the direct result of supraventricular tachycardia in utero; the exact mechanism of production and the reasons for the variable manifestations of tachycardia remain unclear.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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