Intraperitoneal Blood Transfusion in the Fetal Lamb
Although it is known that red blood cells can be transferred intact from the peritoneal cavity to circulating blood by lymphatic channels (Florey and Witts, 1928; Courtice et al., 1953), the rate and efficiency of absorption from this site during intrauterine life has received little attention. However in recent years, the administration of blood to the human fetus by the intraperitoneal route in severe erythroblastosis fetalis has aroused further interest in this subject. In 1922, Cunningham carried out experiments on fetal kittens; after exposing the fetus to the presence of India ink in the peritoneal cavity for one hour, he found that the entry of material into mediastinal lymph nodes only occurred in association with the respiratory activity which he observed in older fetuses. Since then, the role of diaphragmatic movement in accelerating the rate of absorption of particulate matter and red cells from the peritoneal cavity has been established (Morris, 1953; Yoffey and Courtice, 1956). Thus it was postulated that uptake of blood might be slow and less efficient in the fetus owing to the absence of respiratory activity under normal intrauterine conditions.
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