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There is no consensus or evidence as to whether a neuromuscular blocking agent should be used during the initial resuscitation of infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) in the labour ward. To determine if administration of a neuromuscular blocking agent affected the lung function of infants with CDH during their initial resuscitation in the labour ward. Fifteen infants with CDH were studied (median gestational age 38 weeks, range 34-41; birth weight 2,790 g, range 1,780-3,976). Six infants had undergone feto-endotracheal occlusion (FETO). Flow, airway pressure, tidal volume and dynamic lung compliance changes were recorded using a respiratory function monitor (NM3, Respironics). Twenty inflations immediately before, immediately after and 5 min after administration of a neuromuscular blocking agent (pancuronium bromide) were analysed. The median dynamic lung compliance of the 15 infants was 0.22 ml/cm H2O/kg (range 0.1-0.4) before and 0.16 ml/cm H2O/kg (range 0.1-0.3) immediately after pancuronium bromide administration (p < 0.001) and remained at a similar low level 5 min after pancuronium bromide administration. The FETO compared to the non-FETO infants had a lower median dynamic compliance both before (p < 0.0001) and 5 min after pancuronium administration (p < 0.001) and required significantly longer durations of ventilation (p = 0.004), supplementary oxygen (p = 0.003) and hospitalisation (p = 0.007). Infants with CDH, particularly those who have undergone FETO, have a low lung compliance at birth, and this is further reduced by administration of a neuromuscular blocking agent. Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.


Vadivelam Murthy, Walton D'Costa, Kypros Nicolaides, Mark Davenport, Grenville Fox, Anthony D Milner, Morag Campbell, Anne Greenough. Neuromuscular blockade and lung function during resuscitation of infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Neonatology. 2013;103(2):112-7

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PMID: 23182955

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