Pulmonary hypertension is rare; it affects baby’s oxygen levels, as it obstructs blood vessels in the child’s lungs.
Pulmonary Hypertension Association came out with a guide for parents and healthcare workers alike. The purpose of this guide is to help inform those in care of newborns of the seriousness pulmonary hypertension is in babies. The more awareness we have of this disease the more prepared we are to better equip babies with life-saving treatment.
Early treatment for pulmonary hypertension in babies is critical in preventing further complications. In this easy-to-read guide, Pulmonary Hypertension News said, what’s covered is “the frequency, symptoms, risk factors, treatment, and recovery of PPHN, as well as how a diagnosis is determined.”
Pulmonary hypertension is rare; it affects baby’s oxygen levels, as it obstructs blood vessels in the child’s lungs. If left untreated, severe damage will occur to the child’s brain, heart, and lungs.
A baby receives adequate oxygen from the placenta before birth. The child’s blood vessels connecting the heart and lungs are closed up until they take their first breath at birth.
“Generally, treatment consists of supporting the respiratory and circulatory systems so that blood flow improves. It’s typically given in a hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU,” states Pulmonary Hypertension News.
Babies who are full-term are more prone to suffering this disease. However, as stated before, pulmonary hypertension is uncommon, occuring in 2 births out of 1,000.
The way this happens is if a baby:
•Ingests amniotic fluid or stool at birth
•Has underdeveloped lungs
•Growth of the blood vessels was restricted
•Diaphragmatic hernia (when the organs enter through the diaphragm)
•Exposure to certain medications in utero (like antidepressants)
•Overweight at birth
The disease is non-discriminatory, however, it is more prevalent in newborn boys. Black and Asian babies are also more at risk.
To support the lungs and vessels, treatment is done at the neonatal intensive care unit. Some treatment options include oxygen, intubation/mechanical ventilation, antibiotics, IV, sedation and blood pressure medications. In severe cases of pediatric pulmonary hypertension, a baby will be assisted by an artificial lung to aid in circulating their blood.
After treatment babies take weeks to months to full recover. A specialist will keep an eye on the baby’s progress. Sometimes these infants require extra attention, as they tend to have developmental delays. A neurologist or other professional will be able to assist these children as they continue to grow and thrive.
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