Does prostacyclin enhance the selective pulmonary vasodilator effect of oxygen in children with congenital heart disease?
We have obtained dose-response curves for the effects of prostacyclin on the pulmonary and systemic circulations in 20 children (median age 3 years) with pulmonary hypertension complicating congenital heart disease. Results were obtained with the children breathing both air and 100% oxygen. Under both sets of conditions, remote respiratory mass spectrometry was used to measure oxygen consumption and hence cardiac output by the direct Fick principle. When the subjects breathed air, prostacyclin caused a dose-dependent fall in pulmonary vascular resistance (measured in mm Hg . liter-1 . min . m2) (11.12 to 8.07, standard error of difference [SED] = 0.5, p less than .01). The level of the pulmonary vascular resistance when the subjects breathed air during the infusion of 20 ng/kg/min prostacyclin was not significantly different from that found when they breathed 100% oxygen and did not receive the drug (8.67 vs 8.93, SED = 0.55, p = NS). When infused while the subjects breathed 100% oxyge