Projects per year
Disturbed fetal haemodynamics often affects cardiac development and leads to congenital cardiac defects. Reduced left ventricular (LV) preload in the fetus may result in hypoplastic LV, mitral and aortic valve, mimicking a moderate form of hypoplastic left heart complex. We aimed to induce LV hypoplasia by occluding the foramen ovale (FO) to reduce LV preload in the fetal sheep heart, using percutaneous trans-hepatic catheterisation. Under maternal anaesthesia and ultrasound guidance, hepatic venous puncture was performed in six fetal lambs (0.7–0.75 gestation). A coronary guidewire was advanced into the fetal inferior vena cava, right and left atrium. A self-expandable stent was positioned across the FO. An Amplatzer Duct Occluder was anchored within the stent for FO occlusion. Euthanasia and post-mortem examination was performed after 3 weeks. Nine fetuses were used as age-matched controls. Morphometric measurements and cardiac histopathology were performed. Compared with controls, fetal hearts with occluded FO had smaller LV chamber, smaller mitral and aortic valves, lower LV-to-RV ratio in ventricular weight and wall volume, and lower number of LV cardiomyocyte nuclei. We conclude that fetal FO occlusion leads to a phenotype simulating LV hypoplasia. This large animal model may be useful for understanding and devising therapies for LV hypoplasia.
1/01/19 → 31/12/22