The choice of anesthesia during pregnancy and fetal operations is controversial. Halothane frequently is used, but its direct effects on fetal cardiac performance are unknown. The effects of halothane on fetal cardiac mechanics were studied in 8 fetal lamb hearts (135 days' gestation) using a modified Langendorff model connected to a membrane oxygenator. The perfusate consisted of oxygenated maternal blood at a constant flow temperature, hematocrit value, and glucose level. Coronary blood flow, left ventricular systolic pressure, left ventricular end-diastolic pressure, and the developed left ventricular pressure at a fixed volume were evaluated at baseline and after the addition of incremental concentrations of halothane to the perfusate through the oxygenator. Perfusate halothane levels were maintained in a clinical range. Systolic and diastolic cardiac function were adversely affected by the administration of even low doses of halothane, despite a concomitant increase in coronary blood flow. Because of the immaturity of their calcium transport system, fetal hearts may be particularly sensitive to the known calcium channel-blocking properties of halothane. © 1995 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
Davis, D. A., Speziali, G., Craig Wagerle, L., Heckman, J. L., & Russo, P. A. (1995). Effects of halothane on the immature lamb heart. The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 59(3), 695–698. https://doi.org/10.1016/0003-4975(94)01014-5