Hypertension Treatment

Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn

Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPH) of the newborn child is a condition characterized by the venal blood changing its directions through the fetal channels because of an elevated pulmonary vascular resistance. This change of mechanism results in arterial hypoxemia.

Although studies are still going on to ascertain the nature of this  condition, the exact causes remain unknown. . Many researchers believe that as a result of complications during pregnancy a newborn baby might suffer from this problem. Examples of these complications may be stress, maternal diabetes, anemia or high blood pressure.

Some congenital diseases such as pneumonia, birth asphyxia, hypoglycemia, Meconium aspiration syndrome and anemia and are linked to the occurrence of Persistent pulmonary hypertension. These conditions can cause extra pressure on the lungs and thus the newborn baby can suffer from PPH.

You should look out for the following signs and symptoms to ascertain the condition in your baby –

Murmuring in the heart
Rapid rate of breathing
Cyanosis
Respiratory distress such as grunting and flaring nostrils

A battery of tests can be done to ascertain whether a baby is really suffering from Persistent pulmonary hypertension. First of all, simple tests such as x-rays, ultrasound or echo-cardiogram are carried out. Then the physician moves on the more advanced laboratory tests. Examples of these tests are  arterial blood gas, complete blood count, serum electrolyte tests, lumbar puncture and pulse oximetry.

Problems related to infants are generally examined by a neonatologist. Firstly the infant must be kept in a Neonatal intensive care unit. The utmost priority of the physician is to increase the amount of oxygen intake by the infant. This will be done by inserting a windpipe delivering oxygen into the baby's trachea. Along with this treatment the physician determines the exact cause of PPH and provides treatment for the same.

In extreme cases, surgery is the only alternative. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a kind of surgery that can also raise the level of oxygen in a baby. But this method has serious side effects, so it should be performed only if the baby is very ill.

You should remember here that Persistent pulmonary hypertension is definitely curable and reversible with timely and proper treatment. Ensure that you visit your doctor daily. It is very essential for the overall fitness of your child. Failure to do so can also lead to seizures, heart failure, shock, brain hemorrhage, multiple organ damage, kidney failure, and even death.