Various pharmacologic agents used in the experimental study of physiologic processes may have pronounced effects on the systems under study. We have studied the effects of xylazine (Rompun) on myometrial activity, fetal and maternal pH, blood gases, heart rate, and fetal breathing movements in chronically catheterized fetal sheep. Xylazine is widely used as a premedication for various forms of animal operations, including the instrumentation of the chronically catheterized fetal sheep preparation. Animals were studied on postoperative day 5. Xylazine had pronounced effects on maternal PaO2 and heart rate that lasted for at least 3 hours. Fetal heart rate and PaO2 returned to preinjection levels within 60 minutes. Myometrial activity doubled in the first 60 minutes after administration of xylazine and did not return to preinjection levels for 3 hours. Fetal diaphragmatic electromyographic activity was almost completely absent in the first and second hours, with a return to normal within 4 hours. These changes were absent in the saline solution-injected control animals. The observed changes in uterine activity and fetal breathing may have been direct effects of xylazine itself or the result of increased uterine activity. The different duration of changes in the ewe and fetus suggests a compensatory mechanism at the uteroplacental level or in the fetoplacental unit.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology