Enhanced central and conduit pulmonary arterial reservoir function offsets reduced ductal systolic outflow during constriction of the fetal ductus arteriosus

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2012 Jan 1;302(1):R175-83. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00459.2011. Epub 2011 Oct 12.


Constriction of the fetal ductus arteriosus (DA) has disparate effects on mean and phasic hemodynamics, as mean DA blood flow is preserved until constriction is severe, but DA systolic and diastolic blood velocities change with only mild constriction. To determine the basis of this disparity and its physiological significance, seven anesthetized late-gestation fetal sheep were instrumented with pulmonary trunk (PT), DA, and left pulmonary artery (PA) micromanometer catheters and transit-time flow probes. Blood flow profile and wave intensity analyses were performed at baseline and during mild, moderate, and severe DA constriction (defined as pulmonary-aortic mean pressure differences of 4, 8, and 14 mmHg, respectively), produced with an adjustable snare. With DA constriction, mean DA flow was initially maintained but decreased with severe constriction (P < 0.05) in conjunction with a reduction (P < 0.05) in PT flow (i.e., right ventricular output). By contrast, DA systolic flow fell progressively during DA constriction (P < 0.001), due to decreased transmission of both early and midsystolic proximal flow-enhancing forward-running compression waves into the DA. However, DA constriction was also accompanied by greater systolic storage of blood in the PT and main PA (P < 0.025), and increased retrograde diastolic flow from compliant major branch PA (P < 0.001). Transductal discharge of these central and conduit PA blood reservoirs in diastole offset systolic DA flow reductions. These data suggest that, during DA constriction in the fetus, enhanced central and conduit PA reservoir function constitutes an important compensatory mechanism that contributes to preservation of mean DA flow via a systolic-to-diastolic redistribution of phasic DA flow.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / physiology
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Constriction, Pathologic / physiopathology
  • Ductus Arteriosus / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Fetus / blood supply
  • Fetus / physiology*
  • Models, Animal
  • Pulmonary Artery / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Circulation / physiology*
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology*
  • Sheep
  • Systole / physiology