An update on the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric pulmonary hypertension

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2020 Jul;21(10):1253-1268. doi: 10.1080/14656566.2020.1757071. Epub 2020 May 13.


Introduction: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a heterogeneous disease that mainly affects the pulmonary arterioles, leading to significant morbidity and mortality. Pulmonary hypertension in children from birth to adolescence presents important differences from that of adults. The majority of pediatric pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) cases are idiopathic or associated with congenital heart disease. However, the management of pediatric PAH mainly depends on the results of evidence-based adult studies and the clinical experiences of pediatric experts.

Areas covered: This article briefly reviews the recent updates on the definition, classification, and diagnostic evaluation of pediatric PAH and their impact on treatment strategies. The main purpose of this review is to discuss the current pediatric therapies, as well as the prospective therapies, in terms of therapeutic targets, actions, side effects, and dosages.

Expert opinion: Although there is no cure for PAH, recent advances in the form of new treatment options have improved the quality of life and survival rates of PAH patients. PAH-targeted drugs and treatment strategies for adult PAH have not been sufficiently studied in children. However, the growing scientific activity in that field will surely change the treatment option recommendations in pediatric PH from experience-based to evidence-based in the near future.

Keywords: Children; new treatment targets; pediatrics; pharmacotherapies; pulmonary arterial hypertension; guidelines for therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life / psychology*