Pediatric pulmonary arterial hypertension: on the eve of growing up

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Purpose of reviewCurrent recommendations for diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) during childhood are expert opinion based, because of lacking pediatric data. In recent years, however, important pediatric data have emerged on PAH.Recent findingsPAH in children shows similarities as well as differences compared to adults. Neonates and children know specific clinical presentations and a hemodynamic profile that differs from adults with PAH. Children identified as acute vasodilator responders according to the criteria proposed for adults rather than the pediatric criteria have better outcome when treated with calcium channel blockers. For nonresponders, combination PAH-targeted therapy leads to improved outcome compared to monotherapy. In pediatric PAH, WHO functional class, N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion were identified as surrogates for survival and therefore qualify to be treatment goals in a goal-oriented treatment strategy.SummaryIn order to refine current pediatric treatment guidelines, data on efficacy of specific treatment regiments and strategies are needed. The recently validated composite endpoint of clinical worsening allows for trials that will provide these data. For the first time, evidence-based treatment goals have been identified that will allow for a goal-oriented treatment strategy. Furthermore, various prognostic predictors have been identified that may prove treatment goals in future.

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