Hemodynamics and organ blood flow in fetal sheep subjected to chronic anemia

L. E. Davis, A. R. Hohimer

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92 Scopus citations


To investigate cardiovascular adaptation to chronic anemia we studied eight ovine fetuses made anemic by serial isovolemic hemorrhage and seven nonanemic controls. After 1 wk carotid arterial oxygen content was reduced to 1.6 ± 0.2 ml/dl and hematocrit to 13.3 ± 1.6% in anemic fetuses compared with 6.9 ± 1.2 ml/dl and 32.4 ± 3.9% in controls. Cardiac output was higher in the anemic group (753 ± 102 vs. 490 ± 66 ml·min-1·kg fetus-1) as stroke volume and heart rate both increased. Blood flow to the carcass, skin, kidneys, intestines, brain, and heart was increased. Vascular resistance fell in all tissues except the placenta. Central venous pressure, arterial pH, plasma total protein, and blood volume were not different although extravascular fluid accumulated in six of the anemic fetuses. The estimated capillary hydrostatic pressure was greater in anemic (7.6 ± 1.8 mmHg) than control fetuses (5.0 ± 1.5 mmHg) and the ratio of precapillary to postcapillary resistance was less. We conclude that reduction in the ratio of precapillary to postcapillary resistance in chronic fetal anemia increases blood flow, oxygen delivery, and capillary hydrostatic pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1542-R1548
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6 30-6
StatePublished - 1991


  • Capillary hydrostatic pressure
  • Vascular resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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