Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn is associated with mode of delivery and not with maternal use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

Karen L Wilson, Craig M Zelig, John P Harvey, Bethany S Cunningham, Brad M Dolinsky, Peter G Napolitano
American Journal of Perinatology 2011, 28 (1): 19-24
We sought to determine if maternal use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the second half of pregnancy is associated with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). We performed a case-controlled study (1:6 ratio) of infants delivered at Madigan Army Medical Center with primary PPHN from 2003 through 2009. Study and control patients were compared for the following clinical factors: SSRI use after 20 weeks gestation, mode of delivery, maternal disease, body mass index, tobacco use, fetal gender, maternal age, and parity. We identified 20 cases of primary PPHN out of 11,923 births for an incidence of 0.17%. Mode of delivery was the only factor we found to be associated with PPHN. Specifically, cesarean delivery (CD) prior to the onset of labor increased the risk for PPHN: odds ratio (OR) = 4.9, confidence interval (CI) 1.7 to 14.0. Importantly, use of SSRIs in the second half of pregnancy was identified in 5% of the controls but none of the cases (OR = 0, CI 0 to 3). PPHN is associated with CD prior to the onset of labor but not with SSRI use in the second half of pregnancy. Previous studies linking PPHN to SSRI use relied on after-the-fact patient interviews and incomplete records. Additional studies are needed to verify these results.

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