What is the morbidity and mortality for persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)?

Updated: Sep 03, 2019
  • Author: Kate A Tauber, MD; Chief Editor: Howard S Weber, MD, FSCAI  more...
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Relatively recent advancements in the treatment and management of PPHN (such as inhaled nitric oxide and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) have helped to reduce the morbidity and mortality of this disease; however, the mortality rate still remains approximately 10% in those infants with moderate to severe disease, and it is higher in infants with other morbidities such as pulmonary hypoplasia and congenital diaphragmatic hernia. PPHN has been associated with significant long-term morbidities in up to 25% of infants, including neurodevelopmental impairments and hearing difficulties. [26]

A 2019 report of a retrospective California population-based study (2005-2012) found a large postdischarge morbidity burden of infants with PPHN in their first year of life, including those with mild PPHN and causes involving pulmonary vascular changes that have been believed to be of short duration and recoverable. [27] The investigators also identified the following as risk factors for postdischarge mortality and morbidity in the first year of life of newborns with PPHN. [27] :

  • Hispanic ethnicity
  • Small for gestational age
  • Severe PPHN
  • PPHN etiology (eg, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, meconium aspiration syndrome)

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