OBJECTIVE:

This study had 2 goals: (1) to identify clinical and demographic characteristics associated with sildenafil exposure for infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)-associated pulmonary hypertension (PH); and (2) to characterize hospital-specific treatment frequency, age at first administration, and length of sildenafil treatment.

METHODS:

This retrospective cohort study used data from the Pediatric Health Information System to determine variables associated with sildenafil exposure and between-hospital variations in sildenafil utilization patterns. The study included infants with BPD-PH who were discharged between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2013.

RESULTS:

Within 36 US pediatric hospitals, 3720 infants were diagnosed with BPD, of whom 598 (16%) also had a diagnosis of PH (BPD-PH). Among infants with BPD-PH, 104 infants (17%) received sildenafil. The odds for sildenafil treatment among infants born between 25 and 26 weeks’ gestational age (GA) and <24 weeks’ GA, respectively, were 2.26 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.20–4.24) and 3.21 (95% CI: 1.66–6.21) times those of infants born at 27 to 28 weeks’ GA. Severity of BPD correlated with sildenafil exposure, with adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for moderate BPD (OR: 3.03 [95% CI: 1.03–8.93]) and severe BPD (OR: 7.56 [95% CI: 2.50–22.88]), compared with mild BPD. Greater rates of sildenafil exposure were observed among small for GA neonates (OR: 2.32 [95% CI: 1.21–4.46]). The proportion of infants with BPD-PH exposed to sildenafil varied according to hospital (median: 15%; 25th–75th percentile: 0%–25%), as did the median duration of therapy (52 days; 25th–75th percentile: 28–109 days).

CONCLUSIONS:

The odds of sildenafil treatment were greatest among the most premature infants with severe forms of BPD. The frequency and duration of sildenafil exposure varied markedly according to institution. Patient-centered trials for infants with BPD-PH are needed to develop evidence-based practices.

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