Monday, July 6, 2015

A National Look at Trends in Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief  

Engineering for Change
          Admittedly, pulmonary hypertension is not common in anyone’s individual practice—but the problem does exist and the more we can learn from patients with this disorder, the more we can help them.  Fortunately Maxwell et al. (doi:10.1542/peds.2014-3834) used a national database of pediatric hospital discharges to find all cases of pulmonary hypertension logged into the 43 million hospitalizations contained in that database. Over the 16 years studied (1997-2012), 0.13% of discharges or 5,590 of them involved a child with pulmonary hypertension with numbers increasing over time.   
     This is the largest compilation of pulmonary hypertension cases that we are aware of and there is lots to learn from this population in aggregate ranging from how many were or were not associated with congenital heart disease to costs of care for these patients and the changes in mortality rate over time, just to name a few.   
     To help elucidate the lessons learned from this study in regard to our future care of these patients, Drs. Abman and Dunbar offer their expertise in an accompanying commentary. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1697If you need a refresher on pulmonary hypertension and its natural history in children, this study and commentary will allow you to breathe more easily when it comes to knowing more about this serious physiologic disorder.

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