Paediatric pulmonary arterial hypertension: updates on definition, classification, diagnostics and management

Eur Respir J. 2019 Jan 24;53(1):1801916. doi: 10.1183/13993003.01916-2018. Print 2019 Jan.


Paediatric pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) shares common features of adult disease, but is associated with several additional disorders and challenges that require unique approaches. This article discusses recent advances, ongoing challenges and distinct approaches for the care of children with PAH, as presented by the Paediatric Task Force of the 6th World Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension. We provide updates of the current definition, epidemiology, classification, diagnostics and treatment of paediatric PAH, and identify critical knowledge gaps. Several features of paediatric PAH including the prominence of neonatal PAH, especially in pre-term infants with developmental lung diseases, and novel genetic causes of paediatric PAH are highlighted. The use of cardiac catheterisation as a diagnostic modality and haemodynamic definitions of PAH, including acute vasoreactivity, are addressed. Updates are provided on issues related to utility of the previous classification system to reflect paediatric-specific aetiologies and approaches to medical and interventional management of PAH, including the Potts shunt. Although a lack of clinical trial data for the use of PAH-targeted therapy persists, emerging data are improving the identification of appropriate targets for goal-oriented therapy in children. Such data will likely improve future clinical trial design to enhance outcomes in paediatric PAH.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antihypertensive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Management*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Exercise Test
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension / classification
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension / therapy*


  • Antihypertensive Agents