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Fetal Circulation

The main difference in the fetal circulation and postnatal circulation consists of

  1. Presence of placental circulation which provides the gas exchange for the fetus
  2. Absence of gas exchange in the collapse lungs
  3. Widely open ductus arteriosus to allow the right ventricular blood to reach the descending aorta since the lung are non functioning
  4. Presence of ductus venous joining the portal vein with the IVC thus providing a low resistance bypass for umbilical venous blood to reach the IVC
  5. Widely open foramen ovale to provide a route to the oxygenated blood coming through the umbilical vein to reach the left atrium and ventricle for distribution to the coronaries and brain.



Vessels                             Remnants

Umbilical arteries                   Medial umbilical ligamentQ

Left umbilical vein                  Ligamentum teres of the liver **Q

Ductus venosus                      Ligamentum venosumQ

Ductus arteriosus                   Ligamentum arteriosumQ

  • Prostaglandin E; infusion used to keep the ductus patent after birth if needed.
  • Indomethacin: prostaglandin synthetase inhibitor is used successfully to close a patent ductus arteriosus in premature infants.

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