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Congenit Heart Dis. 2011 Nov-Dec;6(6):603-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-0803.2011.00580.x. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

The impact of pulmonary venous hypertension on the pulmonary circulation in the young.

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  • 1The Pulmonary Hypertension Program Department of Cardiology, Division of Cardiac Critical Care, Department of Nursing/Patient Services, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. ,



Pulmonary venous hypertension is a well-characterized cause of pulmonary hypertension in adults, but little is known regarding the relationship between left atrial pressure and pulmonary arteriolar resistance in the young. Also, in adults relief of pulmonary venous hypertension results in a marked fall in pulmonary arteriolar resistance, but this could be different in children because vascular changes are more severe in young patients than adults with mitral stenosis. We inspected records of children at Children's Hospital Boston having mitral balloon valvuloplasty, and patients ≤5 years old having mitral valve replacement, to determine (1) the relationship between left atrial pressure and pulmonary arterial pressure and resistance (n = 94 children, median age 17.8 months) and (2) how pulmonary arteriolar resistance changes after mitral valve replacement.


The average indexed pulmonary arteriolar resistance was 7.8 ± 5.9 units and was unrelated to age but was positively related to left atrial pressure. There was great variability in pulmonary arteriolar resistance for any given left atrial pressure. Pulmonary arterial pressure (n = 16) and pulmonary arterial resistance (n = 9) were measured before and after mitral valve replacement (median = 29.4 months old). Despite preoperative indexed pulmonary arterial resistance of ≥5 units in 11 of 15 patients, postoperative pulmonary arterial pressure was substantially lower in all save three, and two patients with high pulmonary arterial pressure still had high left atrial pressure postoperatively (25 mmHg).


We conclude that in young children, as in adults, pulmonary arterial resistance generally falls greatly with reduction in left atrial pressure.

© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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