Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension Of The Newborn


Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) is a serious medical condition that affects newborn babies. It makes it hard for babies to breathe because the blood pressure in their lungs is too high.PPHN can result in long-term health issues, including organ failure and even death, if not treated quickly and effectively. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatments of PPHN is essential to helping affected infants receive the proper care they need.

What is Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in the Newborn (PPHN)?

Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) is a serious condition in which a baby's circulatory system doesn't adjust to breathing outside the womb. The pressure in the baby's lungs remains high and oxygen levels remain low, which can damage other organs, such as the brain. Symptoms include rapid breathing, bluish skin colour, and poor feeding. Treatment may involve supplemental oxygen, medications to relax the blood vessels, and/or surfactant replacement therapy. In severe cases, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) may be needed. PPHN can be life-threatening and requires prompt medical attention.

What are the causes behind PPHN?

  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) is caused by things in the baby's genes, in the placenta, and in the environment.
  • High levels of maternal oxygen during pregnancy can increase the risk of PPHN.
  • During labour or delivery, maternal infection, high blood pressure, and low amniotic fluid can be risk factors for PPHN.
  • Genetic conditions like trisomy 21 and certain heart defects can play a role in the development of PPHN.
  • After birth, exposure to cold stress or excessive oxygen may contribute to PPHN.
  • The exact cause of PPHN is not fully understood.
  • PPHN is a rare condition but can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

What are the symptoms of PPHN?

Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) symptoms:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • increased heart rate
  • Poor feeding
  • Low blood oxygen levels
  • Bluish colouring of the skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Heart murmur
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Temperature instability
  • Seizures (in severe cases)
  • shock (in severe cases)

When should one see a doctor for PPHN?

PPHN, or persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, is a serious condition that needs to be treated by a doctor. Parents should contact a doctor if their baby has any of the following symptoms: rapid breathing, bluish skin colour, poor feeding, laboured breathing, or an increased heart rate. In addition to the direct signs of PPHN, parents should also seek medical help if their baby has been born prematurely or is otherwise underweight and remains so after birth. It is also important to see a doctor if the baby has had any kind of respiratory distress, prolonged oxygen need, or other respiratory issues in the days following birth.

What are the risk factors for PPHN?

The risk factors for PPHN include:

  • Maternal diabetes
  • High altitude delivery
  • Placental abnormalities
  • Infections
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Chorioamnionitis
  • Preterm labour
  • Maternal opioid use during pregnancy
  • Sepsis
  • Exposure to certain medications, such as magnesium sulphate or SSRIs


Persistent pulmonary hypertension in the newborn is a life-threatening condition that can be treated with medication, mechanical ventilation, and/or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Treatment, if administered early and properly, offers a good prognosis for recovery and improved quality of life. In conclusion, healthcare practitioners need to be vigilant in recognising the signs of persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns to provide timely treatment and improve outcomes. With proper diagnosis and treatment, infants affected by this condition have the opportunity to lead healthy lives.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, DELHI-NCR - Chirag Enclave. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. How is persistent pulmonary hypertension in the newborn treated?

Treatment usually involves supplemental oxygen therapy, medications to improve lung function, and mechanical ventilation when needed.

2. Are there any long-term effects associated with persistent pulmonary hypertension in the newborn?

If treatment is delayed or not good enough, there may be long-term delays in development or disabilities.

3. Who should I contact if I have questions about my baby’s diagnosis or treatment?

You should consult your physician for information regarding your baby's diagnosis or the treatment options available for persistent pulmonary hypertension in the newborn.

4. Can PPHN be prevented?

No one knows how to stop PPHN, but risk factors like drug use by the mother and exposure to toxins in the environment can be avoided. Early diagnosis and treatment can also help avoid complications and improve the long-term health of the baby.

Book an Appointment




Pregnancy Calculator