Treatment of severe pulmonary hypertension in the setting of the large patent ductus arteriosus

Pediatrics. 2013 May;131(5):e1643-9. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-1417. Epub 2013 Apr 29.


Treatment of the large patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in the setting of pulmonary hypertension (PH) is challenging. Left patent, the large PDA can result in irreversible pulmonary vascular disease. Occlusion, however, may lead to right ventricular failure for certain patients with severe PH. Our center has adopted a staged management strategy using medical management, noninvasive imaging, and invasive cardiac catheterization to treat PH in the presence of a large PDA. This approach determines the safety of ductal closure but also leverages medical therapy to create an opportunity for safe PDA occlusion. We reviewed our experience with this approach. Patients with both severe PH and PDAs were studied. PH treatment history and hemodynamic data obtained during catheterizations were reviewed. Repeat catheterizations, echocardiograms, and clinical status at latest follow-up were also reviewed. Seven patients had both PH and large, unrestrictive PDAs. At baseline, all patients had near-systemic right ventricular pressures. Nine catheterizations were performed. Two patients underwent 2 catheterizations each due to poor initial response to balloon test occlusion. Six of 7 patients exhibited subsystemic pulmonary pressures during test occlusion and underwent successful PDA occlusion. One patient did not undergo PDA occlusion. In follow-up, 2 additional catheterizations were performed after successful PDA occlusion for subsequent hemodynamic assessment. At the latest follow-up, the 6 patients who underwent PDA occlusion are well, with continued improvement in PH. Five patients remain on PH treatment. A staged approach to PDA closure for patients with severe PH is an effective treatment paradigm. Aggressive treatment of PH creates a window of opportunity for PDA occlusion, echocardiography assists in identifying the timing for closure, and balloon test occlusion during cardiac catheterization is critical in determining safety of closure. By safely eliminating the large PDA, this treatment algorithm can halt the perilous combination of the large shunting from the PDA and PH in a population at high risk of morbidity and mortality.

Keywords: catheterization; occlusion; patent ductus arteriosus; pulmonary hypertension.

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Balloon Occlusion / methods*
  • Cardiac Catheterization / methods
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / complications*
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / diagnosis
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / therapy*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / complications*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography / methods
  • Male
  • Oxygen / therapeutic use
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sampling Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Oxygen