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Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: lessons from clinical and translational studies.

Two recent studies linking in utero exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), a potentially serious but rare respiratory illness, have made clinicians and patients more reluctant to use SSRIs during pregnancy. However, additional clinical studies have associated maternal depression rather than SSRI exposure as a risk factor for PPHN. This review summarizes the current knowledge regarding PPHN pathophysiology, including the role of serotonin and genetic risk factors; the effects of SSRIs on pulmonary vasculature; the possible link between SSRIs and PPHN; and the diagnosis, clinical management, and prognosis of PPHN.

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