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Treatment of children with pulmonary hypertension. Expert consensus statement on the diagnosis and treatment of paediatric pulmonary hypertension. The European Paediatric Pulmonary Vascular Disease Network, endorsed by ISHLT and DGPK
  1. Georg Hansmann1,
  2. Christian Apitz2
  1. 1Department of Paediatric Cardiology and Critical Care, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
  2. 2Division of Paediatric Cardiology, Children's University Hospital Ulm, Ulm, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Prof. Dr. Georg Hansmann, FESC, FAHA, Department of Paediatric Cardiology and Critical Care, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, Hannover 30625, Germany; georg.hansmann{at}gmail.com

Abstract

Treatment of children and adults with pulmonary hypertension (PH) with or without cardiac dysfunction has improved in the last two decades. The so-called pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)-specific medications currently approved for therapy of adults with PAH target three major pathways (endothelin, nitric oxide, prostacyclin). Moreover, some PH centres may use off-label drugs for compassionate use. Pulmonary hypertensive vascular disease (PHVD) in children is complex, and selection of appropriate therapies remains difficult. In addition, paediatric PAH/PHVD therapy is vastly based on experience and trial data from adult rather than paediatric studies; however, the first randomised paediatric PAH trials have been conducted recently. We present consensus recommendations for the treatment of children with PH. Class of recommendation and level of evidence were assigned based on paediatric data only or on adult studies that included >10% children. After a systematic literature search and analysis of the published data, we developed treatment strategies and algorithms that can guide goal-oriented PH therapy. We discuss early combination therapy (double, triple) in patients with PAH in functional class II–IV and in those with inadequate response to the initial pharmacotherapy. In those children with progressive, severe PAH and inadequate response, advances in drug development, and interventional and surgical approaches provide promising new strategies to avoid, reverse or ameliorate right heart failure and left ventricular compression. In particular, first follow-up data indicate that Potts shunt (left pulmonary artery to descending aorta anastomosis) may be an alternative destination therapy, or bridge to bilateral lung transplantation, in end-stage paediatric PAH.

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