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Response to bosentan in children with pulmonary hypertension


Objective: To describe an early experience of treating 40 children with the dual endothelin receptor antagonist bosentan, which is known to be safe and effective in adults with pulmonary hypertension (PH).

Design: In this retrospective, observational study the UK Service for Pulmonary Hypertension for children treated 40 children with bosentan, 20 with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) (mean age 8.03 years, range 1.2–17) and 20 with PH associated with other conditions (congenital heart disease, parenchymal lung or connective tissue disease, or HIV). Their mean age was 8.3 years (range 0.6–16 years).

Patients: 39 patients were in World Health Organization (WHO) class III and IV, and all had shown recent deterioration. In IPAH the mean pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) was 21.7 units⋅m2 (range 5.6–42.8). In secondary PH the mean PVR was 18 units⋅m2 (range 4.9–49). No child had a positive response to vasodilator testing with nitric oxide.

Interventions: Bosentan was given as first line treatment to 25. Nine were given intravenous epoprostenol. Children were treated for a mean of 12.7 months (range 2–24 months).

Main outcome measures: Response to treatment was judged by WHO functional class, six minute walk test, weight, ECG and echocardiographic findings, and need to add additional treatment.

Results: Bosentan was well tolerated. In the IPAH group 19 (95%) stabilised with bosentan treatment but 12 (60%) patients needed combined treatment with epoprostenol. In secondary PH, WHO class, six minute walk test, and weight gain improved significantly.

Conclusion: Bosentan helped stabilise children with IPAH but intravenous epoprostenol was also needed by 60%. Children with secondary PH improved.

  • IPAH, idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • PAH, pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • PH, pulmonary hypertension
  • PVR, pulmonary vascular resistance
  • WHO, World Health Organization
  • paediatric pulmonary hypertension
  • idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • bosentan
  • endothelin receptor antagonist

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