Pulmonary hypertension in bronchopulmonary dysplasia: clinical findings, cardiovascular anomalies and outcomes

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2014 Jan;49(1):49-59. doi: 10.1002/ppul.22797. Epub 2013 Jun 20.


Objective: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) worsens the prognosis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). The following items have not been fully established for PH in BPD: clinical characterization, incidence of cardiovascular anomalies (CVAs), response to PH treatment, and outcome.

Study design: A review of clinical records, computed tomography (CT) images and catheterization data of 36 patients with PH-BPD referred to our PH Unit (March 2006 to December 2011) was performed. Twenty-nine patients without major congenital heart defects and with complete follow-up data were included.

Results: The diagnosis of PH was made at a median age of 4.5 months (IQR 2.4-7.8), with an echocardiography estimated median right ventricular pressure/systemic pressure ratio of 70% (IQR 60-80%). CT scanning was performed in 21 patients and catheterization in 14 patients. CVAs were found in 19 patients (65.5%): aortopulmonary collaterals (n = 9), pulmonary vein stenosis (n = 7), ASD (n = 4), and PDA (n = 9). Hemodynamic data: PVRI 4.3 UW m(2) (2.7-7); PVRI/SVRI 0.44 (0.32-0.8); and transpulmonary gradient 28 mmHg (19-40). At a median follow-up of 35 months (IQR 21-91), 6 patients had undergone shunts closure, 22 received specific PH drugs, 3 spontaneously improved of their PH, and 8 (26%) had died.

Conclusion: PH in BPD is not always a transient condition; it can be diagnosed at later stages and can have a protracted course. The incidence of associated CVAs is high. Prompt diagnosis, detection, and treatment of CVAs, and specific drug therapy can improve the outcome in these patients, although the mortality rate remains high.

Keywords: bronchopulmonary dysplasia; cardiovascular anomalies; echocardiography; premature infants; pulmonary hypertension.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / complications*
  • Cardiovascular Abnormalities / complications*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / complications*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / therapy
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed