Prophylactic ranitidine in experimental fetal distress: acute phase effects on the fetal stomach.

Research paper by A A Aslan, G G Karagüzel, N N Uysal, T T Gelen, A A Yeşilkaya, M M Melikoğlu

Indexed on: 27 Oct '99Published on: 27 Oct '99Published in: American journal of perinatology


Fetal distress (FD) adversely affects fetal gastric physiology and histology, increasing gastric acid secretion and disturbing gastric protective mechanism. Considering these findings, an experimental study was planned to test whether ranitidine prevents FD-related gastric physiological and histological changes during late gestational period. In this study, a rabbit model of FD was created by way of intermittent maternal aortic occlusion. In group 1 (SC), saline treated animals underwent control operation. In group 2 (SD), FD was created in saline treated animals. In group 3 (RC), ranitidine treated animals underwent control operation. In group 4 (RD), FD was created in ranitidine treated animals. Blood lactic acid levels of the fetuses were 2.3 +/- 1.0 mg/L in SC group and 4.7 +/- 1.8 mg/L in group SD (p < 0.01); 2.5 +/- 0.9 mg/L in group RC and 6.7 +/- 2.5 mg/L in group RD (p < 0.01). Fetal gastric acid secretion was 5.94 +/- 2.13 microEq/h in group SC and 8.26 +/- 2.24 microEq/h in group SD (p < 0.05); 6.63 +/- 2.3 microEq/h in group RC and 6.04 +/- 2.43 microEq/h in group RD (p < 0.05). Fetal gastric PGE2 level was 16.4 +/- 2.65 microg/g-wet weight in group SC and 7.62 +/- 1.86 microg/g-wet weight in group SD (p < 0.01); 15.6 +/- 2.61 microg/g-wet weight in group RC and 8.44 +/- 1.44 microg/g-wet weight in group RD (p < 0.01). In addition, histopathological examination showed normal gastric structure in groups SC and RC, but there were mild erosive and hemorrhagic changes in groups SD and RD. Because prophylactic ranitidine significantly decreased gastric acid secretion, but did not prevent harmful histopathologic effects in FD, it is suggested that gastric damage cannot be avoided by decreasing gastric acid secretion alone. However PGE2 analogs with or without H2 receptor blockers may have a potential role to prevent FD-related gastric damage.