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Factors relating caesarean section to persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn 
 
Factors relating caesarean section to persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn
  Niralee Babooa, Wen-Jing Shi, Chao Chen
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Background: Several studies have clearly demonstrated a significantly higher incidence of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) in neonates delivered by caesarean section (CS) compared to those delivered vaginally. The pathophysiological factors underlying the link between CS and PPHN are still poorly understood. In this review, we describe the mechanisms that could explain the association between CS delivery and subsequent PPHN, as well as potential preventive measures.
Data sources: A literature search was conducted by electronic scanning of databases such as PubMed and Web of Science using the key words "persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn", "caesarean section", "iatrogenic prematurity", "oxidative stress", "late preterm", "labor" and "vasoactive agents".
Results: Iatrogenic prematurity, higher rates of late preterm delivery and lack of physiological changes of labor play an important role in the association between CS and PPHN. CS delivery also results in limited endogenous pulmonary vasodilator synthesis and lower levels of protective anti-oxidants in the neonates. In addition, CS delivery exposes infants to a higher risk of respiratory distress syndrome and its concomitant increase in endothelin-1 levels, which might indirectly lead to a higher risk of developing PPHN. We believe that neonates delivered by CS are exposed to a combination of these pathophysiological events, culminating in an endpoint of respiratory distress, hypoxia, acidosis, and delayed transition and thereby increased risks of PPHN. The use of antenatal corticosteroids prior to elective CS in late preterm deliveries, promoting accurate informed-consent process, delaying elective CS to 39 weeks of gestation or beyond and antenatal maternal anti-oxidant supplementation could potentially mitigate the effects of CS delivery and minimize CS-related PPHN.
Conclusions: The link between CS delivery and PPHN is complex. In view of the rising rates of CS worldwide, there is an urgent need to further explore the mechanisms linking CS to PPHN and experimentally test therapeutic options in order to allow effective targeted interventions.
 
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World Journal of Pediatric Surgery

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