BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

There are limited epidemiologic data on persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). We sought to describe the incidence and 1-year mortality of PPHN by its underlying cause, and to identify risk factors for PPHN in a contemporary population-based dataset.

METHODS:

The California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development maintains a database linking maternal and infant hospital discharges, readmissions, and birth and death certificates from 1 year before to 1 year after birth. We searched the database (2007–2011) for cases of PPHN (identified by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes), including infants ≥34 weeks’ gestational age without congenital heart disease. Multivariate Poisson regression was used to identify risk factors associated with PPHN; results are presented as risk ratios, 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS:

Incidence of PPHN was 0.18% (3277 cases/1 781 156 live births). Infection was the most common cause (30.0%). One-year mortality was 7.6%; infants with congenital anomalies of the respiratory tract had the highest mortality (32.0%). Risk factors independently associated with PPHN included gestational age <37 weeks, black race, large and small for gestational age, maternal preexisting and gestational diabetes, obesity, and advanced age. Female sex, Hispanic ethnicity, and multiple gestation were protective against PPHN.

CONCLUSIONS:

This risk factor profile will aid clinicians identifying infants at increased risk for PPHN, as they are at greater risk for rapid clinical deterioration.

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