Treatment of hypotension in newborns

Semin Neonatol. 2003 Dec;8(6):413-23. doi: 10.1016/S1084-2756(03)00117-9.


Systemic hypotension is a common complication of preterm birth affecting approximately one-third of very low-birthweight infants. There is considerable variation between neonatal units in the reported prevalence of hypotension, the threshold for therapeutic intervention and the nature of any cardiovascular support offered. Systemic hypotension is associated with adverse long-term neurodevelopmental outcome. The majority of preterm infants with hypotension have a normal or high left ventricular output, with low systemic vascular resistance often associated with a haemodynamically significant ductal shunt. Historically, volume expansion, dopamine and dobutamine have been the agents most commonly used to treat hypotension. Some hypotensive preterm infants have low cortisol levels, and corticosteroids are being used increasingly to prevent or treat hypotension in these babies.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Algorithms
  • Blood Substitutes / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Volume
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / drug therapy*
  • Hypotension / physiopathology
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / physiopathology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Blood Substitutes
  • Cardiotonic Agents