Send to

Choose Destination
Anaesthesia. 1993 Apr;48(4):301-3.

The level of neuromuscular block needed to suppress diaphragmatic movement during tracheal suction in patients with raised intracranial pressure: a study with vecuronium and atracurium.

Author information

Department of Anaesthesia and General Intensive Care, University of Vienna, Austria.


The effects of tracheobronchial suction before and after neuromuscular blockade with vecuronium (0.12; ED95 x 2; group A) and atracurium (0.4; ED95 x 2; group B) on intracranial pressure were studied in 18 neurosurgical patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale < 7. Despite adequate sedation, moderate to severe diaphragmatic movements (bucking and coughing) in response to carinal stimulation with significant increases in intracranial pressure (A: 18 SD 7 to 24 SD 8 mmHg; B: 19 SD 7 to 27 SD 5 mmHg) and subsequent decreases in cerebral perfusion pressure (group A: 69 SD 11 to 63 SD 8 mmHg; group B: 63 SD 11 to 59 SD 17 mmHg) could be observed without muscle relaxation. After a bolus dose of vecuronium or atracurium, profound neuromuscular paralysis quantified by the post-tetanic count, was observed after an onset time of 253 SD 72 s (vecuronium) and 159 SD 54 s (atracurium). Slight diaphragmatic movements could be elicited in only two patients in group A and in two patients in group B during tracheal suction; intracranial pressure (group A: 20 SD 8 to 20 SD 8 mmHg; group B: 19 SD 7 to 19 SD 7 mmHg) and cerebral perfusion pressure (group A: 65 SD 13 to 65 SD 13 mmHg; group B: 66 SD 12 to 65 SD 11 mmHg) remained unchanged. When coordinating respiratory therapy in neurosurgical intensive care patients, profound neuromuscular block, quantified by a post-tetanic count of at least 5 for vecuronium and 1 for atracurium, it is necessary to rule out any impact of diaphragmatic movement on intracranial pressure.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center