Although many sick newborns are treated for hypotension and hypertension, the normal physiologic blood pressure range ensuring appropriate organ perfusion is uncertain. Treatment decisions are based on statistically defined gestational and postnatal age-dependent normative blood-pressure values, combined with clinical intuition, because of difficulties evaluating organ perfusion and adequacy of cerebral oxygen delivery. Early-onset hypotension usually results from the combined effects of abnormal peripheral vasoregulation, myocardial dysfunction, and hypovolemia. Volume administration is the primary initial therapy but its use can be associated with significant untoward effects, especially in preterm infants, and should be limited to 10-20 mL/kg of isotonic saline. If the blood pressure cannot be normalized, dopamine should be added, and sometimes followed by adrenaline (epinephrine) and corticosteroids. Hypertension, most often caused by congenital or acquired renovascular disease or volume overload, needs a thorough search for the etiology and cautious treatment, so that blood pressure does not fall too quickly or too low. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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