The aim is To investigate the circulatory physiology of hypotension during the first day after birth among stable extremely preterm neonates.
Case-control study of neonates born at ≤276/7 weeks gestational age with hypotension, defined as mean blood pressure in mmHg less than gestational age in weeks for at least 1 hour during the first 24 hours after birth, who underwent comprehensive echocardiography assessment before commencement of cardiovascular drugs. Neonates with hypotension (n = 14) were matched by gestational age and intensity of respiratory support with normotensive neonates (n = 27) who underwent serial echocardiography during the first day after birth, and relatively contemporaneous echocardiography assessments were used for comparison. Therefore lower estimates of left ventricular afterload (mean end-systolic wall stress, 20 ± 7 g/cm2 vs 30 ± 9 g/cm2; P < .001 and mean arterial elastance, 43 ± 19 mmHg/mL vs 60 ± 22 mmHg/mL; P = .01), without significant difference in stress-velocity index z-score (−0.42 ± 1.60 vs −0.88 ± 1.30; P = .33). Neonates with hypotension had higher rates of any degree of intraventricular hemorrhage (71% vs 22%; P = .006).
Low blood pressure in otherwise well extremely low gestational age neonates was associated with low systemic afterload and larger patent ductus arteriosus, but not left ventricular dysfunction.