Hemodynamic and Neuroendocrine Adaptations of the Preterm Lamb Left Ventricle to Acutely Increased Afterload

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ABSTRACT: The birth process is associated with dramatic alterations of left ventricular (LV) volume loading, pressure loading, and contractile state. The preterm LV has considerable volume loading reserve. We have assessed neuroendocrine and related hemodynamic responses of the preterm lamb LV at 0.8 gestation during acute pressure loading within the first 2-4 h after birth. We measured plasma catecholamines and hemodynamic and cineangiocardiographic parameters of LV pump performance and contractility at basal levels and during rapid LV pressure loading by partial balloon obstruction of the ascending aorta before and after propranolol. A relatively high level of propranolol (3 mg/kg) was required to produce β -adrenoceptor blockade associated with reduction of heart rate and blood pressure, but after atrial pacing there was no detectable difference of basal LV pump performance or contractility at comparable heart rate, preload, and afterload. The LV pump performance was maintained and plasma catecholamines and LV contractility were increased when aortic systolic pressure was augmented 60% over baseline. The increased contractile state at greater afterload was minimally blunted by propranolol. Thus the preterm LV is relatively hypercontractile soon after birth and is capable of an integrated augmentation of pump performance and contractile state during pressure loading. These findings are relevant to the maintenance of adequate LV performance and successful adaptation to the acute alterations of afterload associated with the transitional circulation at birth.

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Correspondence to Barry G Baylen.

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Baylen, B., Agata, Y., Padbury, J. et al. Hemodynamic and Neuroendocrine Adaptations of the Preterm Lamb Left Ventricle to Acutely Increased Afterload. Pediatr Res 26, 336–342 (1989) doi:10.1203/00006450-198910000-00010

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