Estimation of fetal oxygen uptake in human term pregnancies

Tatjana Radaelli, Simona Boito, Emanuela Taricco, Veronica Cozzi, Irene Cetin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective. Umbilical oxygen (O 2) uptake is a parameter of basic physiologic interest. It has been extensively studied in chronically catheterized animals but very few data have been obtained acutely in humans. Recent developments in ultrasound technology allow the estimation of umbilical venous blood flow in utero. Methods. In all, 26 normal term pregnancies were studied at the time of elective cesarean section in order to evaluate fetal O 2 uptake as the product of umbilical blood flow and umbilical O 2 veno-arterial difference. An ultrasound evaluation was performed within 1 h from delivery: umbilical vein area and flow velocity were recorded to calculate umbilical vein volume flow (Qumb). Blood samples from the umbilical vein (uv) and artery (ua) were obtained at the time of fetal extraction for respiratory gases and acidbase evaluation. Results. Umbilical O 2 uptake was calculated as Qumb • (uv-ua)O 2 content: an average value of 0.84±0.40 mmol/min was obtained. Umbilical O 2 uptake per kg was 0.25±0.12 mmol/kg/min, significantly related to fetal O 2 delivery. Conclusions. We estimated umbilical blood flow by ultrasound and we measured umbilical O 2 uptake at term obtaining a value of umbilical O 2 uptake/kg similar to what previously reported in human pregnancies and chronically catheterized animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-179
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • Fetal oxygen delivery
  • Fetal oxygen extraction
  • Fetal oxygenation
  • Umbilical doppler ultrasound
  • Umbilical vein blood flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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