At the bottom of the differential diagnosis list: unusual causes of pediatric hypertension
Arterial hypertension has been reported as a complication of surgical closure of an abdominal wall defect. No report studying the incidence, the characteristics and the clinical significance of hypertension after surgical correction of an omphalocele or gastroschisis has been published so far. The medical records of all newborns with surgically corrected gastroschisis or omphalocele identified in two centers were retrospectively evaluated. Arterial hypertension was defined as a mean daily systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure value higher than the 95 percentile for age and/or weight, according to literature data. The timing of surgery, weight gain, plasma creatinine and the use of diuretics or vasoactive drugs were compared between the groups with and without hypertension. Seventy-two patients were identified and included in the study, 29 with omphalocele and 43 with gastroschisis. Those with omphalocele were born at a mean age of 37.3±2.6 weeks with a mean birth weight of 2,971±715 g, and those with gastroschisis were born at 36.1±2.0 weeks with a mean birth weight of 2,527±498 g. Blood pressure values of 66 patients were available for analysis. Of the omphalocele patients, 46.2% (12/26) developed systolic hypertension, compared to 17.5% (7/40) of the patients with gastroschisis ( P =0.024). Hypertension was always transient, lasting an average of 4 and 1 day in the omphalocele and gastroschisis groups, respectively. Two patients with omphalocele were given anti-hypertensive therapy. There was no difference between patients with or without hypertension regarding weight gain, use of vasoactive drugs or diuretics, mean weekly creatinine values or the timing of surgery. Newborns with an abdominal wall defect frequently present with transient arterial hypertension. Hypertension occurs significantly more often, is more severe and lasts longer in patients with omphalocele than in patients with gastroschisis. In both groups, hypertension is transient and rarely requires therapy. The cause of hypertension remains unclear.