Introduction We hypothesized that nifedipine and sildenafil would have no detrimental effects on placental hemodynamics and gas exchange under fetal hypoxemia. Methods In 33 chronically instrumented fetal sheep, placental volume blood flow (QPlac) and umbilical artery (UA) vascular impedance were measured by Doppler ultrasonography. Fetal carotid artery blood pressure and blood gas values were monitored. After baseline data collection, maternal and fetal hypoxemia were induced. Following hypoxemia phase data collection, 12 fetuses received sildenafil and 9 fetuses nifedipine infusion, and 12 fetuses served as controls receiving saline infusion. Data were collected 30 and 120 min after infusion was started. Then maternal oxygenation was normalized and normoxemia phase data were collected, while infusion was continued. Results Hypoxemia significantly decreased fetal pO2 and blood pressure. In the sildenafil group at 30- and 120-min hypoxemia + infusion phases, fetal blood pressure and QPlac were significantly lower and pCO2 higher than at baseline without returning to baseline level at normoxemia + infusion phase. In hypoxemia, nifedipine did not affect fetal blood pressure or placental hemodynamics. Both in the sildenafil and nifedipine groups, fetal pO2 remained significantly lower at normoxemia + infusion phase than in the control group. Umbilical artery vascular impedance did not change during the experiment. Discussion In fetal hypoxemia, sildenafil had detrimental effects on placental hemodynamics that disturbed placental gas exchange. Nifedipine did not alter placental hemodynamics in hypoxemia but disturbed placental gas exchange upon returning to normoxemia. Umbilical artery vascular impedance did not reflect alterations in placental hemodynamics.
Fields of Science
- Blood flow
- MATERNAL HEMODYNAMICS
- 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
- 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology