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Hypotension in Infants
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Hypotension is when your infant's blood pressure (BP) is lower than it should be. BP is the pressure inside your infant's blood vessel walls, created by the blood flowing through them. Organs, including the brain, kidneys, and intestines (bowels), need enough blood and oxygen to work properly. With hypotension, your infant's organs may not get enough blood to work well. The cause of your infant's hypotension may not be known. Infant hypotension may be caused by heart problems, adrenal gland problems, sepsis (blood infection), and blood loss. Your infant's risk for hypotension increases if he is born too early, or if he weighs very little.
- Your infant's hypotension may be mild, severe (very bad), or life-threatening. Symptoms include urinating very little and cool, pale (lighter color than normal) skin. Your infant's caregiver will check your infant's BP with a cuff placed on his arm or leg. A catheter (tube) may also be put into your infant's artery (blood vessel) to watch his BP constantly. Your infant may need blood tests and an echocardiogram (test to check his heart and blood flow). Your infant's hypotension may get better without treatment. Your infant may need intravenous (IV) liquids, medicines, or other treatments for his hypotension. Treating your infant's hypotension may resolve his symptoms and correct his BP. Treatment may improve the blood flow to his organs and allow him to grow and develop as he should.
- Keep a current list of your child's medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list and the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Give vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
- Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Ask before you change or stop giving your child his medicines.
- Steroids: Steroid medicine may have be given to help increase your infant's blood pressure in the hospital. Steroids may also need to be given for a short amount of time after your child leaves the hospital.
Ask your infant's caregiver when to return for a follow-up visit.
Keep all appointments. Write down any questions you may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your infant's next visit.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- Your infant has a fever (increased body temperature).
- Your infant is sick, vomiting (throwing up), or having diarrhea (loose bowel movements).
- You have questions or concerns about your infant's condition, treatment, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- Your infant is having trouble breathing, or is breathing faster than his caregiver says he should.
- Your infant is having trouble, or is not able to, breastfeed or drink from a bottle.
- Your infant is urinating very little or not at all.
- Your infant's arms, hands, legs, or feet feel cold.
- Your infant's heart is beating faster than caregivers say it should.
- Your infant's skin is pale or mottled (spotted with different colors).
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.