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J Paediatr Child Health. 1994 Oct;30(5):429-31.

The effect of halothane on neonatal ciliary beat frequency.

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Department of Child Health, University of Leicester, Leicester Royal Infirmary, United Kingdom.


The effect of a commonly used anaesthetic agent, halothane, on neonatal cilial function was determined. A nasal cilial sample was taken from 13 healthy, term, newborn infants. For 1 h, half of each sample was exposed to halothane and half to air. Cilial function was assessed by measuring beat frequency with a modified light transmission method. Cilial beat frequency was significantly slower in the cilia exposed to halothane, 9(s.d. 2.5)Hz, than to air, 12.9(s.d. 1.5)Hz. Decreased mucociliary clearance following halothane anaesthesia is due, at least in part, to a directly depressant effect of halothane on ciliated cells.

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