Remifentanil Improves Breathing Pattern and Reduces Inspiratory Workload in Tachypneic Patients

The full text article is temporarily unavailable.

We apologise for the inconvenience. Please try again later.


BACKGROUND: Properly titrated opiates decrease respiratory rate but do not affect tidal volume or induce respiratory acidosis. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether remifentanil improves breathing pattern or reduces inspiratory effort in patients with acute respiratory failure and tachypnea or rapid shallow breathing. METHODS: We studied 14 patients who developed tachypnea and/or rapid shallow breathing if the pressure support level was reduced. During pressure support ventilation, each patient received 30-min infusions, separated by 30 min, of remifentanil and placebo. Measurements were obtained before commencing and before stopping each infusion, and after 3 min of unassisted breathing. The main outcomes were rapid shallow breathing index and change in pressure-time product. RESULTS: Remifentanil did not significantly affect tidal volume. During pressure support ventilation, remifentanil infusion reduced respiratory rate, pressure-time product, and cardiovascular double product (heart rate × systolic arterial pressure) without modifying the sedation score. Mean PaCO2 showed a small and clinically negligible increase during remifentanil, but PaCO2 increased more in the hypercapnic patients than in the normocapnic patients. Remifentanil reduced the rapid shallow breathing index after 3 min of unassisted breathing. CONCLUSIONS: Remifentanil improved respiratory pattern and decreased inspiratory muscles effort in patients with tachypnea or rapid shallow breathing, but did not affect oxygenation or sedation. Though the acid-base balance did not show clinically relevant changes on average, we cannot exclude the possibility that remifentanil might prolong weaning in hypercapnic patients. ( registration NCT00665119)

Keywords: analgesics; conscious sedation; opioid; positive-pressure respiration; remifentanil; respiratory insufficiency; respiratory mechanics; respiratory rate; ventilator weaning; work of breathing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Unità di Terapia Intensiva Polifunzionale, Fondazione Poliambulanza Istituto Ospedaliero, Brescia, Italy

Publication date: June 1, 2011

Share Content

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more