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Artif Organs. 1993 Dec;17(12):996-1003.

Development of an artificial placenta: survival of isolated goat fetuses for three weeks with umbilical arteriovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.


The purpose of our study was to examine the feasibility of long-term extrauterine incubation of an isolated premature fetus in artificial amniotic fluid with arteriovenous extracorporeal circulation. Two premature goat fetuses (age 120 and 128 days) were incubated in an isothermal artificial amniotic fluid incubator with arteriovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation via the umbilical vessels. We administered pancuronium bromide to suppress fetal movement and swallowing because movement and swallowing have been implicated in fetal deterioration during extrauterine fetal incubation. The fetuses maintained stable circulatory and respiratory parameters. The total incubation time was 494 and 543 h. The animals were then removed from the incubator and stimulated to initiate lung respiration. With ventilator support, both animals maintained stable blood-gas exchange and survived for more than 1 week. These results clearly indicate that umbilical arteriovenous extracorporeal membrane can effectively support extended extrauterine incubation of an isolated premature fetus.

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