The angiographic anatomy of the portal venous system in 50 dead, neonatal Labrador/Retriever type puppies is described. Angiography was performed by the injection of radioopaque contrast media through a catheter placed within the umbilical vein. In 49 pups the ductus venosus was a straight vessel arising from the left main portal vein and terminating in an ampulla into which the left hepatic and left phrenic veins entered prior to the ampulla entering the caudal vena cava. The diameter of the ductus venosus was significantly narrower (P<0.001) in pups born alive (n=10) when compared to stillborn individuals (n=39). No discreet narrowing of the ductus venosus indicating a sphincter was found, with closure appearing to be uniform along the vessel's length. A well-developed, patent portal venous system was present in the majority of individuals. One pup showed variation from the others studied having a vascular connection between the portal sinus and the vena cava within the liver. This may represent a normal variant of the ductus venosus, or may be an anatomical abnormality leading to the development of an intrahepatic portosystemic shunt. If this was an intrahepatic shunt, no concurrent ductus venosus was present.
Copyright 1999 W.B. Saunders Company Ltd.