Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) is a surprisingly common event in the neonatal intensive care unit, and affects both term and preterm infants. Recent studies have begun to elucidate the maternal, fetal and genetic risk factors that trigger PPHN. There have been numerous therapeutic advances over the last decade. It is now appreciated that oxygen supplementation, particularly for the goal of pulmonary vasodilation, needs to be approached as a therapy that has risks and benefits. Administration of surfactant or inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) therapy at a lower acuity of illness can decrease the risk of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation/death, progression of disease and duration of hospital stay. Milrinone may have specific benefits as an 'inodilator', as prolonged exposure to iNO plus oxygen may activate phosphodiesterase (PDE) 3A. Additionally, sildenafil and hydrocortisone may benefit infants exposed to hyperoxia and oxidative stress. Continued investigation is likely to reveal new therapies such as citrulline and cinaciguat that will enhance NO synthase and soluble guanylate cyclase function. Continued laboratory and clinical investigation will be needed to optimize treatment and improve outcomes.
- Inhaled nitric oxide
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn
- Pulmonary vascular resistance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health