Nifedipine disturbs fetal cardiac function during hypoxemia in a chronic sheep model at near term gestation
AuthorAlanne, Leena; Bhide, Amarnath Govind; Lantto, Juulia; Huhta, Heikki; Kokki, Merja; Haapsamo, Mervi; Acharya, Ganesh; Rasanen, Juha
Objective: We hypothesized that nifedipine would not impair fetal sheep cardiac function under hypoxemic environment. In particular, we investigated the effects of nifedipine on fetal ventricular functional parameters and cardiac output.
Study design: A total of 21 chronically instrumented fetal sheep at 122 to 134 gestational days (term, 145 days) were included in this study. Fetal cardiac function was evaluated by measuring global longitudinal strain, indices describing ventricular systolic and diastolic function, and cardiac outputs using two-dimensional speckle tracking and tissue and spectral pulsed-wave Doppler echocardiography. Fetal carotid artery blood pressure and blood gas values were invasively monitored. After baseline data collection, fetal hypoxemia was induced by maternal hyperoxygenation. After hypoxemia phase data collection, 9 fetuses received nifedipine infusion, and 12 fetuses received saline infusion. Data were collected 30 and 120 minutes after the infusion was started. After 120 minutes of data collection, maternal and fetal oxygenation were normalized, and normoxemia phase data were collected, while infusion was continued.
Results: Hypoxemia decreased fetal carotid artery mean arterial pressure from 40 (8) mm Hg to 35 (8) mm Hg (P<.007), and left ventricular global longitudinal strain showed less deformation than at baseline (P¼.001). Under hypoxemia, nifedipine caused a reduction in right ventricular global longitudinal strain (P<.05), a decrease in right ventricular isovolumic relaxation velocity and its deceleration (P<.01) indicating diastolic dysfunction, and a drop in right ventricular cardiac output (P<.05). Nifedipine did not alter fetal left ventricular functional parameters or cardiac output. When normoxemia was restored, fetal right ventricular functional parameters and cardiac output returned to baseline level.
Conclusion: In hypoxemic fetus, nifedipine impaired right ventricular function and reduced its cardiac output. The detrimental effects of nifedipine on fetal right ventricular function were abolished, when normoxemia was restored. Our findings suggest that in a hypoxemic environment nifedipine triggers detrimental effects on fetal right ventricular function.