Pediatric Nephrology

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 1009–1018 | Cite as

Neonatal hypertension: an educational review

  • Matthew W. Harer
  • Alison L. KentEmail author
Educational Review


Hypertension is encountered in up to 3% of neonates and occurs more frequently in neonates requiring hospitalization in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) than in neonates in newborn nurseries or outpatient clinics. Former NICU neonates are at higher risk of hypertension secondary to invasive procedures and disease-related comorbidities. Accurate measurement of blood pressure (BP) remains challenging, but new standardized methods result in less measurement error. Multiple factors contribute to the rapidly changing BP of a neonate: gestational age, postmenstrual age (PMA), birth weight, and maternal factors are the most significant contributors. Given the natural evolution of BP as neonates mature, a percentile cutoff of 95% for PMA has been the most common definition used; however, this is not based on outcome data. Common causes of neonatal hypertension are congenital and acquired renal disease, history of umbilical arterial catheter placement, and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. The treatment of neonatal hypertension has mostly been off-label, but as evidence accumulates, the safety of medical management has increased. The prognosis of neonatal hypertension remains largely unknown and thankfully most often resolves unless secondary to renovascular disease, but further research is needed. This review discusses important factors related to neonatal hypertension including BP measurement, determinants of BP, and management of neonatal hypertension.


Hypertension Blood pressure Neonatal Newborn Premature Oscillometric NICU 



Acute kidney injury


Assessment of Worldwide Acute Kidney Injury Epidemiology in Neonates


Blood pressure


Bronchopulmonary dysplasia




Magnetic resonance imaging


Neonatal intensive care unit


Postmenstrual age


Small for gestational age


Umbilical arterial catheter



We would like to acknowledge Kate O’Hara, B. Med Sci, M. Pharm, Lead Pharmacist of the Division of Women, Youth and Children, for her contribution to Table 5 of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© IPNA 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Division of NeonatologyUniversity of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public HealthMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neonatology, Centenary Hospital for Women and ChildrenCanberra HospitalWodenAustralia
  3. 3.Australian National University Medical SchoolCanberraAustralia

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