Much effort has been directed toward investigation of early gestational influences responsible for cardiac and vascular malformations. Less well appreciated is the fact that late gestational influences also can alter cardiovascular development, and that these resultant cardiovascular abnormalities may cause cardiac failure.
"Since they are operative after the main cardiac structures have formed, late gestational influences do not usually cause specific valvular, vascular, or local structural defects," Richard L. Naeye, MD, told the 114th Annual Convention of the American Medical Association. "Rather, they commonly alter heart size as a whole, the sizes of the specific chambers, or the structure of individual myocardial fibers."
Naeye, associate professor of pathology, The University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, studied the effect on cardiovascular development of fetal malnutrition, abnormal fetal blood volume, abnormal blood flow through a portion of the fetal heart, and fetal hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinism.
Material taken at autopsy was compared