The functional effects of bladder outlet obstruction in the developing urinary tract are well recognized in patients born with posterior urethral valves, in whom a spectrum of bladder dysfunction has been described. To better understand the changes occurring in the partially obstructed developing lower urinary tract, a fetal lamb model of partial urethral obstruction was developed. Fetal lambs at 90 days' gestation underwent surgical placement of a silver ring (ex utero) at the level of the proximal bladder neck, with concomitant ligation of the urachus. Control animals underwent urethral ligation only. The lambs were then allowed to go through normal gestation, and ewes wer delivered spontaneously. The animals were studied between 2 and 7 days after birth. The postmortem examination showed that the ring was just distal to the bladder neck, around the proximal urethra. This resulted in gradual, partial occlusion of the urethra. Bladder weights, bladder wall thickness, and bladder capacity were significantly increased in the partially obstructed animals as compared with the controls. There was little or no upper tract dilatation in the obstructed group. This animal model, the first to produce gradual outflow obstruction in the fetus, provides a reporducible model of partial urethral obstruction. The model can be used to assay the biochemical and physiological changes found in the developing urinary tract of fetal lambs submitted to intravesical obstruction.
- Bladder outlet obstruction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health