Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) is a serious and life-threatening condition for newborns.
In a normal birth, the circulatory system of the newborn transitions and changes so that the child can adapt to their new environment while still receiving adequate oxygen. PPHN occurs when an infant’s circulatory system fails to make this transition, with the vessels of the lung opening improperly and making it difficult for the child to breathe.
PPHN is identifiable by hypertension that causes hypoxemia, or an abnormally low amount of oxygen in the blood. Hypoxemia in these cases can result in the infant having lowered blood pressure and blood oxygen levels, and can even be physically present, turning an infant’s skin a bluish color.

What Causes PPHN?

While the exact causes of PPHN are not known, medical professionals have found certain risk factors associated with PPHN. Physicians and birth teams should take care to monitor for the following during labor and be prepared to act preventatively:
  • Asphyxia - Occurs when an infant is not getting an appropriate level of oxygen during birth.
  • Tachypnea - A type of respiratory distress marked by abnormal or rapid breathing.
  • Systemic hypotension - Systemic hypotension refers to low blood pressure in the arteries.
  • Respiratory acidosis - A condition which occurs when the lungs are unable to remove the carbon dioxide produced by the body.
If the fetus shows any of these symptoms before or during birth, it is imperative that the medical team step in to prevent any further harm to the child. If they fail to monitor for such problems, they may be held liable for the resulting condition.
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How is PPHN Treated?

Treatment strategies for PPHN are aimed at accomplishing a few specific goals. The first and most immediate of these goals is to get the child to a normal blood pressure, so that the arteries can allow blood to flow through them easily. Physicians will also closely monitor the oxygen levels and blood pressure of a newborn after birth. By maintaining a normal body temperature in the infant, providing nutritional support, and taking care not to overstimulate or mishandle the child, they can minimize harm.
In some cases, a baby with PPHN may be put on a ventilator. Ventilators are typically used when the baby is unable to get oxygen in other ways. A tube is placed in the baby’s throat, which connects to the machine and delivers air and oxygen with light pressure to keep the lungs open.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of PPHN?

PPHN prevents a baby from normal breathing, which is incredibly dangerous to their health. The longer an infant goes without oxygen, the higher the likelihood that their brain can have an adverse reaction. Sometimes this can lead to long-term cognitive problems like learning disabilities, autism, or ADHD. In extreme cases of PPHN, infant death is also an unfortunate possibility, although the quick intervention of medical professionals significantly decreases this risk

How Can a Lawyer Help With My Child’s PPHN?

If your child was diagnosed with PPHN and you believe it may have been the result of medical negligence, an experienced PPHN attorney can help you take the next steps.
Working with medical experts, we will investigate the circumstances surrounding your child’s birth and look for evidence that proper procedures were not followed. Based on this, negligent parties can be identified and appropriate legal action taken against parties such as the doctor and the hospital. In a PPHN lawsuit, damages for past and future medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering, and other losses may be available.

We’re Here for Victims of PPHN

Morgan & Morgan has more than 20 years of experience helping families seek compensation for PPHN and other birth injuries. Our attorneys have a strong track record of success filing obstetrical negligence claims, including multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts. We understand how a PPHN diagnosis can impact your family, and we’re here to help.

Get Help From an Experienced PPHN Attorney

If your child has been recently diagnosed with PPHN, you may be eligible to take legal action. Please call $(855) 300-4456 or fill out our case review form for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
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