Objective To determine the characteristics of term infants with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) associated with moderate or severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
Methods We compared infants with and without PPHN enrolled in 2 randomized trials of therapeutic hypothermia: the induced hypothermia trial of cooling to 33.5 degrees C for 72 hours vs normothermia, and the "usual-care" arm (33.5 degrees C for 72 hours) of the optimizing cooling trial.
Results Among 303 infants with HIE from these 2 studies. 67 (22%) had PPHN and 236 (78%) did not. We compared infants with PPHN with those without PPHN. The proportion of patients treated with therapeutic hypothermia was similar in PPHN and no-PPHN groups (66% vs 65%). Medication use during resuscitation (58% vs 44%), acidosis after birth (pH: 7.0 +/- 0.2 vs 7.1 +/- 0.2), severe HIE (43% vs 28%), meconium aspiration syndrome (39% vs 7%), pulmonary hemorrhage (12% vs 3%), culture-positive sepsis (12% vs 3%), systemic hypotension (65% vs 28%), inhaled nitric oxide therapy (64% vs 3%). and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (12% vs 0%) were more common in the PPHN group. Length of stay (26 +/- 21 vs 16 +/- 14 days) and mortality (27% vs 16%) were higher in the PPHN group.
Conclusions PPHN is common among infants with moderate/severe HIE and is associated with severe encephalopathy, lung disease. sepsis, systemic hypotension, and increased mortality. The prevalence of PPHN was not different between those infants receiving therapeutic hypothermia at 33.5 degrees C in these 2 trials (44/197 = 22%) compared with infants receiving normothermia in the induced hypothermia trial (23/106 = 22%).