Measurement of Blood Flow and Oxygen Consumption in the Pelvic Limb of Fetal Sheep

Randall B. Wilkening, David W. Boyle, Giacomo Meschia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In order to determine blood flow and oxygen consumption in the pelvic limb of fetal sheep, we applied the Fick principle of measurement of oxygen consumption in seven paired experiments in seven fetal sheep under normal conditions and after treatment with pancuronium bromide. Catheterization procedures, which minimized interference with the study limb circulation, avoided changes of catheter tip position during fetal movements, and prevented collateral circulation to and from tissues not located in the pelvic limb, were utilized. Blood flow through the external iliac artery was measured by means of a transit time ultrasonic method. Six sample sets for oxygen content were drawn from the external iliac artery and vein during 45-min control period and repeated after neuromuscular blockade. Normal oxygen consumption under these experimental conditions was determined to be 20.7 ± 1.9 (mean ± SEM) μmole · min-1 · 100 g-1. Neuromuscular blockade caused oxygen consumption to decrease significantly (P < 0.01) by 12% to 18.1 ± 2.1 μmole · min-1 · 100 g-1 and decreased the average coefficient of variation from 15 to 8%. The data demonstrate that spontaneous skeletal muscle activity accounts for a significant amount of oxygen consumption, the level of which can vary widely over brief periods of time. These results suggest that such tissues with significant spontaneous changes in metabolic activity require repeated blood flow measurements with simultaneous determination of substrate arteriovenous differences to best describe metabolism under normal conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-505
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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