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Involvement of Prostaglandins in the Fetal and Neonatal Circulation

  • F. Coceani
  • P. M. Olley
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 54)

Abstract

The fetal circulation has several unique features which reflect specific adjustments to developing organs and the need of adequate blood flow through the placenta for gas exchange. Part of the oxygenated blood returning from the placenta bypasses the liver through a special vessel, the ductus venosus, which connects the umbilical veins to the inferior vena cava. Once it reaches the heart, inferior caval blood is shunted into the left atrium via the foramen ovale and hence is distributed to both the upper and lower body. Superior vena caval blood, on the other hand, is directed into the right ventricle and the pulmonary trunk; from which vessel, most of the right ventricular ouptut is shunted away from the collapsed lungs into the descending aorta through the ductus arteriosus. Because of the existence of these shunts in the circulation and the occurrence of widely dilated vessels in the placenta, total vascular resistance is lower in the fetus than in the adult. The attendant workload on the fetal heart is relatively small which accords with the limited ability of the immature myocardium to respond to increased functional demands.

Keywords

Pulmonary Hypertension Perinatal Period Fetal Circulation Ductus Venosus Fetal Lamb 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Coceani
    • 1
  • P. M. Olley
    • 1
  1. 1.Research InstituteThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada

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