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Artificial placentas rescue very little lambs

OCTOBER 23, 2017
Clinical Congress Daily Highlights, Monday Second Edition

An artificial placenta (AP) using extracorporeal life support can successfully rescue extremely premature lambs after failed mechanical ventilation (MV), according to a new study.
The study, led by Joseph T. Church, MD, of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, rescued three preterm fetal lambs from failed MV. The study protocol, which was designed to mimic the probable clinical application of the device in human neonates, showed that it may be feasible to use the AP to continue support, with successful weaning and transition to room air breathing. One lamb was supported with an AP for 11 days.

The preterm fetal lambs were delivered via laparotomy and hysterotomy 24 to 29 days earlier than the typical 145-day term. The jugular vein and umbilical vein were cannulated and cannulas were clamped.  Lambs were intubated, MV was initiated, and umbilical lines were placed. Upon MV failure, AP support was initiated with jugular venous drainage and umbilical vein reinfusion.  

Additional Information:
The Scientific Forum presentation, The Artificial Placenta Rescues Premature Lambs From Ventilatory Failure, was held October 23 at the 2017 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons in San Diego, CA.  Program, webcast and audio information is available online at