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Crit Care Med. 1989 Jun;17(6):506-10.

Cardiopulmonary and intracranial pressure changes related to endotracheal suctioning in preterm infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center 90033.


Although endotracheal (ET) suctioning is performed frequently in sick newborn infants, its effects on cardiorespiratory variables and intracranial pressure (ICP) have not been thoroughly documented in neonates greater than 24 h who were not paralyzed while receiving mechanical ventilation. This study evaluates these changes in preterm infants who required ventilatory assistance. We measured transcutaneous PO2 and PCO2 (PtcO2 and PtcCO2, respectively), intra-arterial BP, heart rate, ICP, and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) before, during, and for at least 5 min after ET suctioning in 15 low birth weight infants less than 1500 g and less than or equal to 30 days of age. One infant was studied twice. A suction adaptor was used to avoid disconnecting the patient from the ventilator and to attempt to minimize hypoxemia and hypercapnia during suctioning. The patients were studied in the supine position and muscle relaxants were not used. PtcO2 decreased 12.1% while PtcCO2 increased 4.7% 1 min after suctioning; however, greater increases in mean BP (33%) and ICP (117%) were observed during suctioning. CPP also increased during the procedure. ICP returned to baseline almost immediately, whereas BP remained slightly elevated 1 min after suctioning. Our findings demonstrate that ET suctioning significantly increases BP, ICP, and CPP in preterm infants on assisted ventilation in the first month of life. These changes appear to be independent of changes observed in oxygenation and ventilation.

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