Objectives: The primary objective was to describe the early "natural history" of pulmonary hypertension (PH) in the premature population. The secondary objective was to describe factors associated with poor outcomes in the premature population with PH at 36 weeks post-menstrual age (PMA).
Study design: Retrospective chart review of patients followed at our institution from 2000 to 2017 with echocardiographic (ECHO) evidence of PH at 36 weeks PMA, and born ≤ 32 weeks estimated gestational age (GA). Cox regression was used for survival analysis.
Results: Sixty-one patients with PH (26.5 ± 1.5 weeks at birth) were included. All PH patients had bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), with 89% considered severe; 38% were small for gestational age. Necrotizing enterocolitis requiring surgery was common (25%). Use of post-natal steroids (HR 11.02, p = 0.01) and increased severity of PH (HR 1.05, p < 0.001) were associated with mortality. Pulmonary vein stenosis (PVS) was documented in 26% of the PH cohort, but not associated with increased mortality. ECHO estimation of pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) was available in 84%. PAP was higher in those who died (sPAP/sBP ratio 1.09 ± 27 vs 0.83 ± 20 %, p = 0.0002). At follow-up (mean 250 ± 186 weeks PMA), 72% of the PH cohort was alive. Most survivors (66%) had resolution of their PH on their most recent ECHO; 31% remained on PH therapy.
Conclusion: PH resolved in most survivors in this study population. Mortality in those with BPD-PH was associated with male sex, post-natal steroid use, and increased severity of PH, but not with PVS.