The purpose of this study was to investigate atrial myocardial blood flow in the fetus under conditions of acute right ventricular pressure load and adenosine infusion. Late gestation fetal sheep were instrumented for acute right ventricular pressure loading or adenosine infusion, and regional myocardial blood flow was measured at rest and under experimental conditions with radiolabeled microspheres and standard reference sample technique. Resting myocardial blood flow to the atria was less than half of ventricular flow per gram tissue. During the maximum tolerated pulmonary artery pressure load, right atrial peak systolic pressure rose significantly, and atrial blood flow increased 3-fold. The percentage of total myocardial blood flow received by the right atrium during maximal pressure loading increased from 4.3 ± 1.4% to 5.9 ± 1.6%, p < 0.05. Adenosine infusion was associated with a 4-fold increase in atrial myocardial blood flow and a 3-fold increase in ventricular and septal blood flow. The percentage of total myocardial blood flow to both atria also increased with adenosine infusion (right atrium, 3.8 ± 0.4% to 5.4 ± 1.3%, and left atrium, 4.2 ± 0.8% to 6.9 ± 2.0%, p < 0.05). We conclude the following: 1) at rest, fetal atrial myocardial blood flow is less than one half of ventricular myocardial blood flow per gram tissue; 2) fetal atrial blood flow increases more than ventricular blood flow with acute right ventricular pressure load or adenosine infusion; and 3) these data suggest that fetal atrial blood flow is regulated independently from ventricular blood flow and may be influenced by atrial work.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health