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The effect of β-adrenergic stimulation on fetal cardiovascular function during hypoxemia

  • Herbert E. Cohn
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests: Dr. Herber E. Cohn, 2 Fenway Plaza, Boston, Massachusetts 02215
    Affiliations
    Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts USA

    the Section of Surgery, Program in Medicine, Brown University Providence, Rhode Island USA

    the Providence Veterans Administration Medical Center Providence, Rhode Island USA
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  • George J. Piasecki
    Affiliations
    Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts USA

    the Section of Surgery, Program in Medicine, Brown University Providence, Rhode Island USA

    the Providence Veterans Administration Medical Center Providence, Rhode Island USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Benjamin T. Jackson
    Affiliations
    Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts USA

    the Section of Surgery, Program in Medicine, Brown University Providence, Rhode Island USA

    the Providence Veterans Administration Medical Center Providence, Rhode Island USA
    Search for articles by this author
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      Abstract

      The effect of β-adrenergic stimulation on fetal cardiovascular function during hypoxemia was studied in six lamb fetuses with gestational ages of 119 to 140 days. In chronic preparations, we determined fetal heart rate, umbilical blood flow (by electromagnetic flowmeter), PO2, PCO2, and pH and calculated fetal cardiac output and organ blood flows (using 15 μ nuclide-labeled microspheres). Observations were made during control periods and periods of hypoxemia, β-adrenergic blockade by propranolol, and hypoxemia superimposed upon the β-adrenergic blockade. Beta blockade effected a decrease in fetal heart rate both at rest and with hypoxemic stress. Propranolol produced a fall in cardiac output with hypoxemia, but the meaning of this in regard to β-adrenergic effects is unclear. Beta blockade did not alter fetal arterial pressure or general blood flow distribution. However, we observed a decrease in umbilical blood flow in response to propranolol under both normoxic and hypoxemic conditions.
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