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Neurocrit Care. 2012 Apr;16(2):267-72. doi: 10.1007/s12028-011-9642-4.

High-dose ambroxol reduces pulmonary complications in patients with acute cervical spinal cord injury after surgery.

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Department of Intensive Care Unit, Peking University Third Hospital, 49 North Garden Rd, Haidian District, Beijing 100191, People's Republic of China.



Ambroxol has a very high affinity for lung tissues; its concentration is approximately 20 times higher in the lung than in the serum. We aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of high-dose ambroxol (990 mg/day) in the improvement of oxygenation and prevention of postoperative respiratory complications in the patients with acute cervical spinal cord injury (CSCI).


A total of 61 acute CSCI patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of our hospital between January 2009 and June 2011 were included in the study. They were graded as ASIA A and ASIA B according to the classification of the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) and were randomly divided into two groups: one group received intravenous ambroxol at 990 mg/day for 5 consecutive days after operation; the other group treated without ambroxol served as control. The results of arterial blood gas analysis on postoperative day 3 and 5 and occurrence of pulmonary complications within 5 days after operation were evaluated.


The group treated with high-dose ambroxol showed a lower rate of postoperative pneumonia and hypoxemia within 5 days after operation. On the 3rd and 5th days, the oxygenation index in the high-dose ambroxol group (291.02 ± 34.96 and 301.28 ± 37.69) was significantly higher than in the control group (230.08 ± 26.25 and 253.82 ± 26.26), with significant differences between the two groups (P = 0.045 and 0.041).


Administration of high-dose ambroxol should be considered as an alternative and effective approach to reduce the postoperative respiratory complications and improve the oxygenation status in acute CSCI patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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