Posts Tagged infant lung disorders

Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension

Posted by on Wednesday, 28 April, 2010

Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) is the presence of blood flow through the lungs and heart seen in fetuses. While growing inside the womb, the mother did the breathing for him/her. Oxygenated blood went from the mother’s lungs, through her body , across the placenta, and into the baby. Therefore, the baby did not need to use it’s lungs. However, after the bay is born it cries, and takes breaths, the pressure in the pulmonary (lung) vessels should decrease; therefore blood can travel to the lungs to get oxygen. when a baby has PPHN, the pressure in the pulmonary vessels does not decrease causing blood to shunt the wrong way (away from the lungs), as the baby was still inside the womb. Therefore, the baby receives unoxygenated blood to their body.

persistent pulmonary hypertension

This condition is usually seen in near term, term, or post term infants. Symptoms are usually seen with in the first twelve hours of life. Several factors that cause PPHN, are stressful birthing process, swallowing the meconuim (the first few stools which are thick, sticky and pasty) by gasping for a breath in the birthing canal. The meconium can get into the baby’s lungs and cause the baby to have difficult breathing after birth. Other causes of PPHN may be cold stress, low blood sugar, low calcium, thickening of the blood, or infection.

Symptoms that are first noticed will be that the baby may begin to breathe faster, known as (tachypnea) and the baby’s chest may suck in (retractions) as if their having a difficult time breathing. The baby will probably need to be placed on a breathing machine(ventilator). A nurse will need to give some medication(sedation) to help the baby rest. You may see a bluish discoloration of the skin (cyanosis) because of decreased oxygen, resulting in the baby’s blood pressure being low. The main goal is to get oxygenated blood to the rest of the baby’s body. This is done by using a ventilator and medications. The baby may also need to be on a special medication to increase their blood pressure (vasopressor). The baby will have several lines and intravenous access to measure and monitor their condition. PPHN is a very Serious Condition. Some babies show long-term developmental problems, therefore, the baby’s development should be closely evaluated.