Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPNH), also known as persistent fetal circulation, occurs when the circulatory system of a newborn does not adapt properly to support breathing outside of the womb.
When a baby is born, its first breath of air should cause the blood pressure in the lungs to fall and increase blood flow to the lungs, where carbon dioxide and oxygen are exchanged. As part of this process, a baby's ductus arteriosis should constrict and permanently close - usually on the first day of life. In babies with PPHN, the ductus arteriosis does not close, or does not close properly, and lung pressure remains high. This causes blood to be directed away from the lungs. In turn, the newborn's blood is not properly oxygenated and many of the baby's organs can be affected including, most importantly, the brain. Low blood flow to the brain can cause cerebral palsy.
PPHN is most common in post-term or full-term babies who have experienced a difficult birth and have experienced asphyxia (lack of oxygen), ischemia (lack of blood flow), or other fetal distress (e.g., fetal heart rate decelerations). It occurs in approximately 1 in 700 births.
PPHN may also be caused by the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that infants born to mothers who took prescription medications to treat depression (e.g., Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa and Paxil) after 20 weeks of gestation are six (6) times more likely to suffer from PPHN, than infants born to drug-free mothers.
The trial lawyers at Bottar Leone, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting and trying to verdict medical malpractice and birth injury cases. If you or your baby have been injured due to medical malpractice, you, your child and your family may be entitled to compensation for lifelong health care, medical expenses, special education, medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
To discuss your case or concerns with an experienced Central New York medical malpractice and birth injury attorney, contact us now at (315) 422-3466, (800) 336-LAWS, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.