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The effect of milrinone on right and left ventricular function when used as a rescue therapy for term infants with pulmonary hypertension

  • Adam T. James (a1), John D. Corcoran (a1), Patrick J. McNamara (a2) (a3), Orla Franklin (a4) and Afif F. El-Khuffash (a1) (a5)...

Milrinone may be an appropriate adjuvant therapy for infants with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. We aimed to describe the effect of milrinone administration on right and left ventricular function in infants with persistent pulmonary hypertension not responding to inhaled nitric oxide after 4 hours of administration.

Materials and methods

This is a retrospective review of infants born after or at 34 weeks of gestation with persistent pulmonary hypertension who received milrinone treatment. The primary endpoint was the effect of milrinone on myocardial performance and haemodynamics, including right and left ventricular outputs, tissue Doppler velocities, right ventricle and septal strain, and strain rate. Secondary endpoints examined included duration of inhaled nitric oxide and oxygen support.


A total of 17 infants with a mean (standard deviation) gestation and birth weight of 39.8 (2.0) weeks and 3.45 (0.39) kilograms, respectively, were included in the study. The first echocardiogram was performed 15 hours after the commencement of nitric oxide inhalation. Milrinone treatment was started at a median time of 1 hour after the echocardiogram and was associated with an increase in left ventricular output (p=0.04), right ventricular output (p=0.004), right ventricle strain (p=0.01) and strain rate (p=0.002), and left ventricle s` (p<0.001) and a` (p=0.02) waves. There was a reduction in nitric oxide dose and oxygen requirement over the subsequent 72 hours (all p<0.05).


The use of milrinone as an adjunct to nitric oxide is worth further exploration, with preliminary evidence suggesting an improvement in both oxygenation and myocardial performance in this group of infants.

Corresponding author
Correspondence to: Dr A. El-Khuffash FRCPI, MD, DCE, Consultant Neonatologist, The Rotunda Hospital, Parnell Street, Dublin 1, Ireland. Tel: +353 1 873 0700; Fax: +353 1 872 6523; E-mail:
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Cardiology in the Young
  • ISSN: 1047-9511
  • EISSN: 1467-1107
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