Premature birth and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) are risk factors for the development of echocardiographic signs of pulmonary hypertension (PH) and are associated with changes in cardiac structure and function. It is unclear whether this association persists beyond early infancy. The aims of this study are to prospectively investigate the prevalence of PH in children with severe BPD and to investigate the effect of BPD and PH on myocardial structure and function at six months corrected age. Preterm infants (gestational age ≤ 32 weeks) with severe BPD were included. Echocardiography was used to define PH and to measure speckle tracking derived longitudinal and circumferential strain of the left ventricle (LV) and right ventricle (RV). Sixty-nine infants with a median (interquartile range [IQR]) gestational age of 25.6 (24.9–26.4) weeks and a median birthweight of 770 (645–945) gram were included. Eight (12%) infants had signs of PH at six months corrected age. RV fractional area change was lower in infants with severe BPD and PH at six months compared to infants without PH (35% ± 9% vs. 43% ± 9%, P = 0.03). RV mean longitudinal systolic strain was lower in infants with severe BPD and PH compared to infants without PH (17.6% [−19.5%/−16.1%] vs. −20.9% [−25.9%/−17.9%], P = 0.04). RV size and LV longitudinal and circumferential strain in children with BPD with or without PH were similar. Signs of PH were found in 12% of infants with severe BPD at six months corrected age and the presence of PH is associated with reduced RV systolic function.

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Pulmonary Circulation

Blanca, A.J. (Arabella J.), Duijts, L., van Mastrigt, E., Pijnenburg, M., Ten Harkel, D.-J.D. (Derk-Jan D.), Helbing, W., … Koopman, L. (2019). Right ventricular function in infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and pulmonary hypertension: a pilot study. Pulmonary Circulation, 9(1). doi:10.1177/2045894018816063