There is a paucity of data on infant intravenous prostacyclin use, the gold standard for therapy for severe pulmonary hypertension (PH). This review aimed to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and outcomes of infant prostacyclin use. A retrospective observational study was performed in a large pediatric hospital with a dedicated pediatric PH program. Subject medical records, bedside flow sheets, and progress notes were reviewed to identify use of intravenous epoprostenol or treprostinil within the first year of life. The indication for prostacyclin use was recalcitrant hemodynamic compromise associated with PH, identified as either idiopathic PH, persistent PH of the newborn, PH associated with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, congenital heart disease, bronchiolitis, or chronic lung disease. Prostacyclin-related adverse events included 7 episodes of hypotension, 6 episodes of perceived pain, 2 episodes of cyanosis, and 1 episode of feeding intolerance. Prostacyclin was stopped only for cyanotic episodes associated with use in severe chronic lung disease. Two hemorrhagic events occurred during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, which were unlikely to be prostacyclin related. Outcomes included 21 deaths unrelated to prostacyclin, 1 lung transplant, 6 PH resolutions, 8 transitions to oral PH medications, and 1 continuation of treprostinil. In conclusion, efficacy could not be evaluated in this study because of the loss of equipoise for neonatal prostacyclin use. Prostacyclin use was well tolerated in neonatal diseases associated with PH, but dose titration was limited by hypotension and hypoxemia.
Keywords: infant; prostacyclin; pulmonary hypertension.