Sildenafil for bronchopulmonary dysplasia and pulmonary hypertension: a meta-analysis

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is the most common complication in preterm infants and often complicated by pulmonary hypertension (PH), leading to substantial morbidity and mortality. Sildenafil is often used to treat PH and improve symptoms in this condition, even though evidence of safety and effectiveness is scarce. The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis about the effectiveness and safety of chronic use of sildenafil in preterm infants with BPD-associated PH. Data sources were PubMed, EMBASE, and Medline. Studies reporting the effectiveness of sildenafil therapy in BPD-associated PH in newborns and infants were included. All-cause mortality, improvement in PH, improvement in respiratory scores, and adverse events were extracted. Five studies were included, yielding a total of 101 patients with 94.2 patient-years of total follow-up. The pooled mortality rate was 29.7%/year (95% confidence interval [CI] = 6.8–52.7). Estimated pulmonary arterial pressure improved > 20% in 69.3% (95% CI = 56.8–81.8) of patients within 1–6 months. Respiratory scores improved in 15.0% (95% CI = 0.0–30.4) of patients within 2–7 days. There were no serious adverse events during sildenafil therapy. This systematic review shows that in the treatment of BPD-associated PH in preterm infants, sildenafil may be associated with improvement in PAP and respiratory scores. However, there is no clear evidence of its effect on mortality rates. Considering BPD as a complex disease with variable expression patterns, these results support the need for a prospective registry and standardized approach.

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Bronchial Circulation
Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension


Marisa van der Graaf, Leonne Arindah Rojer, Willem Arnold Helbing, Irwin Karl Marcel Reiss, Jonathan Richard Gregory Etnel, Beatrijs Bartelds

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Pulmonary Circulation Vol 9: No 3 cover image

September 2019

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 9: No 3

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