The International journal of artificial organs vol:29 issue:3 pages:308-317
BACKGROUND: A modified Blalock-Taussig (mBT) shunt is an anastomosis created between the systemic and pulmonary arterial tree in order to improve pulmonary blood flow in neonates and children with congenital heart disease. The aim of this study was to assess vascular resistance-flow relationship in an in vitro set-up of a modified Blalock Taussig shunt. METHODS: A shunt set-up was constructed with the vessels of a sheep. A modified BT shunt was anastomosed between an innominate (brachiocephalic) and a right pulmonary artery. A Medos pump (ventricular assist device) was used to create pulsatile flow. Three different mean pulmonary artery flow rates (Q PA ) were applied. Once mean pulmonary and mean aortic flows (Q AO ) were fixed, shunt flow rates for twelve different pulmonary vascular resistances (R p ) were investigated. RESULTS: For all three pulmonary flow rates, the shunt flow decreased with increasing pulmonary resistance. In addition, systemic flow decreased compared to pulmonary flow. When pulmonary flow rate was set at 800 ml/min and aorta flow rate at 900 ml/min, the distribution of flow between pulmonary and systemic organs flow rates ranged between 69% - 70% and 30% - 31% respectively. Similarly, when both pulmonary and aorta flow rates were set at 900 ml/min, pulmonary and systemic organ flows ranged between 73% - 77% and 23% - 27% respectively. For pulmonary and aorta flow rates of 1000 ml/min and 900 ml/min, respectively, the distribution of flow between pulmonary and systemic organ flow rates varied between 79% - 83% and 17% - 21% respectively. CONCLUSION: Knowledge of the relationship between vascular resistances and flow in this surgically created in vitro mBT shunt set-up may be helpful in the clinical management of the patients whose survival is crucially dependent on the blood flow distribution between the pulmonary and systemic circulation.