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J Pediatr Surg. 1993 Nov;28(11):1463-5.

Persistent pulmonary hypertension in high-risk congenital diaphragmatic hernia patients: incidence and vasodilator therapy.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Survival of congenital diaphragmatic hernia patients depends on the gravity of pulmonary hypoplasia and persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPH). Many vasoactive drugs have been used in the treatment of PPH, but often they also lower peripheral resistance, leading to a significant drop in arterial blood pressure. The incidence of PPH in 52 high-risk diaphragmatic hernia patients and the results of treatment with tolazoline and prostacyclin were evaluated in a study lasting 52 months and involving 52 patients. High-risk patients require ventilatory support within 6 hours after birth. Study parameters were alveolar-arterial oxygenation difference (AaDO2), oxygenation index (OI), and mean arterial blood pressure (MABP), measured at set times before and after administration of tolazoline or prostacyclin. Twenty-one patients had documented episodes of PPH (46%), and 18 of them died. Tolazoline did not lower AaDO2 and OI values, but MABP dropped significantly. Prostacyclin caused a significant decrease of AaDO2 and OI values without an effect on MABP. We concluded: (1) PPH presented in 46% of our patients, associated with a high mortality rate; (2) tolazoline is not an effective dilator of the pulmonary vascular bed and lowers MABP; and (3) prostacyclin is an effective pulmonary vasodilator as reflected by ventilation parameters without systemic side effects; it does not affect overall outcome but can used as a "bridge" to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

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