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Anesth Analg. 1993 Oct;77(4):695-701.

Respiratory effects of intravenous morphine infusions in neonates, infants, and children after cardiac surgery.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Washington, Seattle.


We evaluated the respiratory effects of intravenous morphine infusions in 30 patients (2 to 570 days old, mean 155 days) after cardiac surgery. PaCO2 during spontaneous breathing and CO2 response curves during rebreathing were obtained on morphine infusions at drug steady state and during drug washout. Steady state morphine serum levels > 20 ng/mL resulted in hypercarbia (PaCO2 > 55 mm Hg) and depressed CO2 response curve slopes (< 10 Hg ETCO2(-1).kg-1) in 67% and 70% of patients, respectively (P < 0.05, compared to those with levels < 20 ng/mL). During washout, morphine levels more than 15 ng/mL resulted in hypercarbia in 46%, whereas levels less than 15 ng/mL were associated with hypercarbia in 13% (P = 0.025). No age-related differences in respiratory effect were seen in these studies at the same serum morphine level. Careful observation of any patient receiving morphine remains necessary, but neonates and young infants seem to have the same respiratory response to morphine infusions as older infants and children at the same blood level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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