Sildenafil Use in Children with Pulmonary Hypertension

Jennifer L. Cohen, Shannon N. Nees, Gerson A. Valencia, Erika B. Rosenzweig, Usha S. Krishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the demographics, treatment algorithm, and outcomes in a large cohort of children treated with sildenafil. Study design: A retrospective cohort study of children with pulmonary hypertension (PH) treated with sildenafil at a single institution between 2004 and 2015. Baseline and follow-up data collected by chart review. Results: There were 269 children included in this study: 47 with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, 53 with congenital heart disease, 135 with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, 24 with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and 7 with other causes. Sildenafil was initial monotherapy in 84.8% and add-on therapy in 15.2%. Median follow-up time was 3.1 years (2 weeks-12.4 years). On follow-up, 99 (37%) remained on sildenafil or transitioned to tadalafil, 93 (35%) stopped sildenafil for improvement in PH, 54 (20%) died, and 20 (7%) were lost to follow-up. PH was most likely to improve in those with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, allowing for the discontinuation of sildenafil in 45%. Eighteen deaths were related to PH and 36 from other systemic causes. Two patients stopped sildenafil owing to airway spasm with desaturation. Overall survival was significantly lower in World Health Organization group 3 PH (bronchopulmonary dysplasia and congenital diaphragmatic hernia) vs group 1 (idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension and congenital heart disease), P =.02. Conclusions: In this retrospective experience in children with mainly World Health Organization groups 1 and 3 PH, low-dose sildenafil was well-tolerated, safe, and had an acceptable side effect profile. Although patients with group 3 PH have high mortality, survivors have a high likelihood of PH improving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-34.e1
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Sildenafil
  • bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • congenital heart disease


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