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There is a paucity of functional data on mid-to-late preterm infants between 30+0 and 34+6 weeks gestation. We aimed to characterise transitional cardiopulmonary and haemodynamic changes during the first 48 hours in asymptomatic mid-to-late preterm infants.
Forty-five healthy preterm newborns (mean ± standard deviation) gestation of 32.7 ± 1.2 weeks) underwent echocardiography on Days 1 and 2. Ventricular mechanics were assessed by speckle tracking-derived deformation, rotational mechanics, tissue Doppler imaging, and right ventricle-focused measures (tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion, fractional area change). Continuous haemodynamics were assessed using the NICOM™ system to obtain left ventricular output, stroke volume, heart rate, and total peripheral resistance by non-invasive cardiac output monitoring.
Right ventricular function increased (all measures p < 0.005) with mostly stable left ventricular performance between Day 1 and Day 2. NICOM-derived left ventricular output [mean 34%, 95% confidence interval 21–47%] and stroke volume [29%, 16–42%] increased with no change in heart rate [5%, −2 to 12%]. There was a rise in mean blood pressure [11%, 1–21%], but a decline in total peripheral resistance [−14%, −25 to −3%].
Left ventricular mechanics remained persevered in mid-to-late premature infants, but right ventricular function increased. Non-invasive cardiac output monitoring is feasible in preterm infants with an increase in left ventricular output driven by an improvement in stroke volume during the transitional period.
Prematurity impacts myocardial development and may determine long-term outcomes. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that preterm neonates develop right ventricle dysfunction and adaptive remodelling by 32 weeks post-menstrual age that persists through 1 year corrected age.
Materials and Methods:
A subset of 80 preterm infants (born <29 weeks) was selected retrospectively from a prospectively enrolled cohort and measures of right ventricle systolic function and morphology by two-dimensional echocardiography were assessed at 32 weeks post-menstrual age and at 1 year of corrected age. Comparisons were made to 50 term infants at 1 month and 1 year of age. Sub-analyses were performed in preterm-born infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and/or pulmonary hypertension.
In both term and preterm infants, right ventricle function and morphology increased over the first year (p < 0.01). The magnitudes of right ventricle function measures were lower in preterm-born infants at each time period (p < 0.01 for all) and right ventricle morphology indices were wider in all preterm infants by 1 year corrected age, irrespective of lung disease. Measures of a) right ventricle function were further decreased and b) morphology increased through 1 year in preterm infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and/or pulmonary hypertension (p < 0.01).
Preterm infants exhibit abnormal right ventricle performance with remodelling at 32 weeks post-menstrual age that persists through 1 year corrected age, suggesting a less developed intrinsic myocardial function response following preterm birth. The development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and pulmonary hypertension leave a further negative impact on right ventricle mechanics over the first year of age.
Milrinone may be an appropriate adjuvant therapy for infants with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. We aimed to describe the effect of milrinone administration on right and left ventricular function in infants with persistent pulmonary hypertension not responding to inhaled nitric oxide after 4 hours of administration.
Materials and methods
This is a retrospective review of infants born after or at 34 weeks of gestation with persistent pulmonary hypertension who received milrinone treatment. The primary endpoint was the effect of milrinone on myocardial performance and haemodynamics, including right and left ventricular outputs, tissue Doppler velocities, right ventricle and septal strain, and strain rate. Secondary endpoints examined included duration of inhaled nitric oxide and oxygen support.
A total of 17 infants with a mean (standard deviation) gestation and birth weight of 39.8 (2.0) weeks and 3.45 (0.39) kilograms, respectively, were included in the study. The first echocardiogram was performed 15 hours after the commencement of nitric oxide inhalation. Milrinone treatment was started at a median time of 1 hour after the echocardiogram and was associated with an increase in left ventricular output (p=0.04), right ventricular output (p=0.004), right ventricle strain (p=0.01) and strain rate (p=0.002), and left ventricle s` (p<0.001) and a` (p=0.02) waves. There was a reduction in nitric oxide dose and oxygen requirement over the subsequent 72 hours (all p<0.05).
The use of milrinone as an adjunct to nitric oxide is worth further exploration, with preliminary evidence suggesting an improvement in both oxygenation and myocardial performance in this group of infants.
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