Madalena Braga, Maria Lúcia Moleiro and Luís Guedes-Martins* Pages 167 - 176 ( 10 )
The ductus venosus is a vascular shunt situated within the fetal liver parenchyma, connecting the umbilical vein to the inferior vena cava. This vessel acts as a bypass of the liver microcirculation and plays a critical role in the fetal circulation. The ductus venosus allows oxygenated and nutrient-rich venous blood to flow from the placenta to the myocardium and brain. Increased impedance to flow in the fetal ductus venosus is associated with fetal aneuploidies, cardiac defects and other adverse pregnancy outcomes. This review serves to improve our understanding of the mechanisms that regulate the blood flow redistribution between the fetal liver circulation and fetal heart and the clinical significance of the ductus venosus waveform as generated by pressure-volume changes in the fetal heart.
Ductus venosus, fetal venous circulation, ductus venosus shunting, ultrasound, doppler velocimetry, heart.
Instituto de Ciencias Biomedicas Abel Salazar, University of Porto, Porto, Departamento da Mulher e da Medicina Reprodutiva, Centro Materno Infantil do Norte, Centro Hospitalar do Porto EPE, Porto, Instituto de Ciencias Biomedicas Abel Salazar, University of Porto, Porto