Reduced blood volume decreases cerebral blood flow in preterm piglets



Publication Details

Eiby, Y. A., Shrimpton, N. Y., Wright, I. M. R., Lumbers, E. R., Colditz, P. B., Duncombe, G. J. & Lingwood, B. E. (2018). Reduced blood volume decreases cerebral blood flow in preterm piglets. Journal of Physiology, 596 (23), 6033-6041.


Key points:

  • Preterm infants often have poor cardiovascular function that is associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes.
  • Preterm infants may be vulnerable to hypovolaemia due to excessive vasodilatation and leaky capillaries.
  • Following reduction in blood volume, cardiac output and mean arterial pressure were reduced to the same extent in term and preterm piglets.
  • Cerebral blood flow was maintained following blood volume reduction in term but not in preterm piglets.
  • Effective detection and treatment of functional hypovolaemia may reduce the risk of brain injury in preterm infants.

Preterm infants often have impaired cardiovascular function that may contribute to poor neurodevelopmental outcomes. The study aimed to determine the effects of reduced blood volume on cardiovascular function, including cerebral blood flow, in preterm and term piglets. In preterm (97/115 days) and term piglets, up to 10% of the estimated blood volume was removed. Removal of blood was stopped if MAP dropped below 20 mmHg. Heart rate, cardiac contractility and relaxation, cardiac output, mean arterial pressure (MAP), and cerebral blood flow were measured at baseline and again after blood volume reduction. The volume of blood removed was less in preterm piglets than in term piglets (5.1 ± 1.8 vs. 7.7 ± 0.9 mL kg-1, mean ± SD, P < 0.001). Cardiac output and MAP decreased to the same extent in term and preterm piglets. Cerebral blood flow decreased in preterm but not term piglets and cerebral vascular conductance increased in term piglets only. Compensatory responses to maintain cerebral blood flow after blood volume reduction are active in term piglets but not in preterm piglets. As a result, even a small reduction in blood volume, or an increase in the capacity of the circulatory system leading to functional hypovolaemia, may lead to a significant reduction in cerebral blood flow and contribute to brain injury in preterm neonates. Journal compilation

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