Viagra Prevents Rebound Pulmonary Hypertension in Infants
A study of infants being withdrawnfrom inhaled nitric oxide therapy revealedthat a single dose of sildenafil(Viagra) prevented rebound pulmonaryhypertension and reduced the length oftime on mechanical ventilation in theintensive care unit (ICU). Researchers atthe Pediatric ICU at the Royal Children'sHospital in Melbourne, Australia, administered1 dose of sildenafil to 15 infantswho had been withdrawn from inhalednitric oxide therapy. There was no incidenceof rebound pulmonary hypertension,a common complication. Fourteenother children received a placebo, and 10of the 14 had an acute elevation of pulmonaryartery pressure of 20% or moreduring withdrawal. The infants who failedto wean from the nitric oxide treatmentwere later given sildenafil and then withdrewsuccessfully. Nitric oxide therapy isconsidered the most effective selectivepulmonary vasodilator. After the studywas completed, total ICU stay for infantsgiven sildenafil was 47.8 hours, comparedwith 189 hours for the placebogroup. The study was published in theNovember 15, 2006, edition of theAmerican Journal of Respiratory andCritical Care Medicine.