The lungs of eight newborn infants who had died from pulmonary atresia were studied by quantitative morphometric techniques. It was established for the first time that the abnormal pattern of blood flow through the heart and great vessels in a fetus with pulmonary atresia is associated with impaired lung development as shown by arteries that are too few, too small, and with an abnormally thin muscle coat, although the distribution of muscle along the arterial pathway is normal. Differences between the cases in the degree of impairment of lung development could be detected and related to the degree of reduction in pressure and flow before birth in the individual case. Although blood flow through the pulmonary circulation is small before birth lung development seems sensitive to any further reduction.
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