Physiological Changes in the Circulation after Birth



The purpose of this essay is to bring together some of the evidence which has accumulated and the theories which have been discussed over the last few centuries as to the nature of the changes in the circulation after birth. The evidence is lopsided, first, because so much of the experimental work is very recent (and therefore probably ill-digested), and second, because, although a good deal is known about the fetal and newborn lamb, little is known about other species. The use of the lamb for such studies is traditional. Fabricius (91) wrote that he had provided a precise anatomical description of the fetus of the lamb because the fetal lamb, as well as the fetal ox, had been singled out for description by the ancients; a fetal or newborn lamb was, no doubt, as easily come by in sixteenth century Padua as elsewhere today, and is of a size such that dissection and experiment are not difficult. So far as the relatively few observations on the human infant are concerned, it would appear that the changes in its circulation after birth are not unlike those in the lamb.


Left Atrium Inferior Vena Umbilical Vein Pulmonary Vascular Resistance Pulmonary Blood Flow 
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© American Physiological Society 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Columbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA

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