Pulmonary hypertension associated with acute or chronic lung diseases in the preterm and term neonate and infant. The European Paediatric Pulmonary Vascular Disease Network, endorsed by ISHLT and DGPK.
Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) is the most common neonatal form and mostly reversible after a few days with improvement of the underlying pulmonary condition. When pulmonary hypertension (PH) persists despite adequate treatment, the severity of parenchymal lung disease should be assessed by chest CT. Pulmonary vein stenosis may need to be ruled out by cardiac catheterisation and lung biopsy, and genetic workup is necessary when alveolar capillary dysplasia is suspected. In PPHN, optimisation of the cardiopulmonary situation including surfactant therapy should aim for preductal SpO2between 91% and 95% and severe cases without post-tricuspid-unrestrictive shunt may receive prostaglandin E1 to maintain ductal patency in right heart failure. Inhaled nitric oxide is indicated in mechanically ventilated infants to reduce the need for extracorporal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and sildenafil can be considered when this therapy is not available. ECMO may be indicated according to the ELSO guidelines. In older preterm infant, where PH is mainly associated with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) or in term infants with developmental lung anomalies such as congenital diaphragmatic hernia or cardiac anomalies, left ventricular diastolic dysfunction/left atrial hypertension or pulmonary vein stenosis, can add to the complexity of the disease. Here, oral or intravenous sildenafil should be considered for PH treatment in BPD, the latter for critically ill patients. Furthermore, prostanoids, mineralcorticoid receptor antagonists, and diuretics can be beneficial. Infants with proven or suspected PH should receive close follow-up, including preductal/postductal SpO2measurements, echocardiography and laboratory work-up including NT-proBNP, guided by clinical improvement or lack thereof.