Background: Many causes for neonatal hypertension in premature infants have been described; however in some cases no etiology can be attributed. Our objectives are to describe such cases of unexplained hypertension and to compare hypertensive infants with and without chronic lung disease (CLD). Methods: We reviewed all cases of hypertension in premature infants referred from 18 hospitals over 16 years. Inclusion criteria were hypertension occurring at <6 months of age and birth at <37 weeks gestation; the main exclusion criterion was known secondary hypertension. Continuous variables were compared using analysis of variance. Nominal variables were compared using chi-square tests. Results: A total of 97 infants met the inclusion criteria, of whom 37 had CLD. Among these infants, hypertension presented at a mean of 11.3 ± 3.2 chronological weeks of age and a postmenstrual age of 39.6 ± 3.6 weeks. Diagnostic testing was notable for plasma renin activity (PRA) being <11 ng/mL/h in 98% of hypertensive infants. Spironolactone was effective monotherapy in 51 of 56 cases of hypertension. Hypertension resolved in all infants, with an average treatment duration of 25 weeks. Significant differences between the two groups of infants were a 0.4 kg lower birthweight and a 2.5 weeks younger gestational age at birth in those with CLD (p < 0.01, p < 0.01, respectively). Hypertension presented in those with CLD 1.8 weeks later, but at the same postmenstrual age as those without CLD (p < 0.01, p = 0.45, respectively). Conclusion: Premature infants with unexplained hypertension, with and without CLD, presented at a postmenstrual age of 40 weeks with low PRA, transient time course, and a favorable response to spironolactone treatment.
- Blood pressure
- Chronic lung disease
- Plasma renin activity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health