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Inhaled nitric oxide for avoidance of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in the treatment of severe persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn

Abstract

Inhaled nitric oxide (NO) is thought to provide a noninvasive therapeutic alternative to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in the treatment of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

Objective

Since January 1993, we have studied inhalation of NO in PPHN patients meeting the ECMO criteria of our institution. We focused on the questions of whether or not the need for ECMO could be obviated and whether differences could be found between NO responders and nonresponders.

Design

NO gas was delivered via conventional IPPV ventilation in incrementally increasing concentrations from 20 to 80 ppm.

Patients

NO therapy was attempted in ten ECMO candidates with clinical and echocardiographical evidence of PPHN (mean OI 51.9, SD 10.4).

Results

At various NO levels (30–60 ppm), five patients showed a significant increase in meanPaO2 (range 32.9–85.9 mmHg). Improvement was transient in three patients (6–10 h) and prolonged in two others (54–80 h); in the latter cases, ECMO was avoided. Five patients did not respond at all to treatment. Responders and nonresponders differed in their mean respiratory tidal volume (8.9 vs 4.18 ml/kg,P<0.05).

Conclusions

In our study, inhalation of NO obviated the necessity of ECMO therapy in only two out of ten PPHN patients. Thus, we would discourage any overoptimistic expectations about the effectiveness of NO therapy in PPHN until larger clinical trials have been performed.

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Müller, W., Kachel, W., Lasch, P. et al. Inhaled nitric oxide for avoidance of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in the treatment of severe persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. Intensive Care Med 22, 71–76 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01728335

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01728335

Key words

  • Nitric oxide
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation