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J Burn Care Res. 2013 May-Jun;34(3):311-7. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e318257d94a.

Hemodynamic responses to dexmedetomidine in critically injured intubated pediatric burned patients: a preliminary study.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


Because of ineffectiveness and tolerance to benzodiazepines and opioids developing with time, drugs acting via other receptor systems (eg, α-2 agonists) have been advocated in burn patients to improve sedation and analgesia. This study in severely burned pediatric subjects examined the hemodynamic consequences of dexmedetomidine (Dex) administration. Eight intubated patients with ≥20 to 79% TBSA burns were studied between 7 and 35 days after injury. After baseline measurements of mean arterial blood pressure and heart rhythm were taken, each patient received a 1.0 µg/kg bolus of Dex followed by an ascending dose infusion protocol (0.7-2.5 µg/kg/hr), with each dose administered for 15 minutes. There was significant hypotension (27±7.5%, average drop in mean arterial pressure [MAP] ± SD), and a decrease in heart rate (HR; 19% ± 7, average drop in HR ± SD). The average HR decreased from 146 beats per minute to 120. No bradycardia (HR < 60) or heart blocks were observed. In three patients, the MAP decreased to <50mm Hg with the bolus dose of Dex. Of the remaining five patients, three patients completed the study receiving the highest infusion dose of Dex (2.5 µg/kg/hr), whereas in 2 patients the infusion part of the study was begun, but the study was stopped due to persistent hypotension (MAP < 50mm Hg). These observations indicate that a bolus dose of Dex (1.0 µg/kg for 10 minutes) and high infusion rates may require fluid resuscitation or vasopressor support to maintain normotension in critically injured pediatric burn patients.

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