Pulmonary hypertension continues to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality, despite new treatments. Since inhaled nitric oxide has been reported to be effective in some cases, we investigated using nebulized nitroglycerine to treat pulmonary hypertension in children with congenital heart disease. Four children (ages 6-72 months) with severe pulmonary hypertension secondary to congenital heart disease (all with membranous ventricular septal defect, undergoing cardiac catheterization) were given 3 cc of nebulized normal saline over 10 min as placebo control, followed by nebulized nitroglycerine (20 micrograms/Kg in 3 cc normal saline). Normal saline administration did not elicit any change, but nitroglycerine administration resulted in the following changes (mean +/- SE, paired statistics): systolic pulmonary artery pressure from 68 +/- 8 to 53 +/- 6 at 10 min into treatment (P 0.006), mean pulmonary artery pressure 47 +/- 4 to 38 +/- 4 (P 0.005), heart rate 131 +/- 8 to 127 +/- 7 (P 0.13), systolic blood pressure 85 +/- 8 to 88 +/- 3 (P 0.7), mean blood pressure 59 +/- 6 to 63 +/- 4 (P 0.5). These results indicate that nebulized nitroglycerine may be an effective, easy to administer, inexpensive, and safe alternative for treatment of severe pulmonary hypertension in children with congenital heart disease, especially in areas where other treatments such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or inhaled nitric oxide are inaccessible.

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Published in The West Virginia Medical Journal, v. 95, p. 74-75.

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