INTRAVENOUS SILDENAFIL SIGNIFICANTLY LOWERS PULMONARY VASCULAR RESISTANCE IN AN ANIMAL MODEL OF NEONATAL PULMONARY HYPERTENSION
Source: American Thoracic Society
In an animal model of persistent neonatal pulmonary hypertension, a serious killer of newborns, the vasodilator sildenafil completely reversed vascular resistance in six affected piglets within one hour after researchers began infusing the drug. The investigators were comparing the effects of intravenous sildenafil with inhaled nitric oxide (a standard treatment) in a piglet model of neonatal pulmonary hypertension caused by meconium aspiration. Meconium is the dark green material found in the intestine of the full-term infant. When the fetus inhales meconium, the substance can block the airways and irritate the lungs.
Severe meconium aspiration syndrome produces acute lung disease with rapid onset of persistent pulmonary hypertension. Current management of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn includes therapies that are targeted at lowering vascular resistance, with inhaled nitric oxide as a key treatment. The six piglets that were instilled with human meconium, with a resulting increase in vascular resistance of 70 percent, had that level completely reversed within one hour of the start of sildenafil infusion.
This result was in contrast to those of the controls (no change) and the six piglets treated with nitric oxide (40 percent reduction in two hours). The researchers believe that sildenafil may play an important role in the future treatment of the illness.
The research appears in the second issue for April of the American Thoracic Society’s peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
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