• Anesthesiology · Oct 2006

    Randomized Controlled Trial

    Recurrent hypoxemia in children is associated with increased analgesic sensitivity to opiates.

    • Karen A Brown, André Laferrière, Indrani Lakheeram, and Immanuela Ravé Moss.
    • Division of Pediatric Anesthesia, Department of Pediatrics, McGill University Health Centre/The Montreal Children's Hospital, 2300 Tupper Street, Montreal, Quebec H3H 13P, Canada. roula.cacolyris@muhc.mcgill.ca
    • Anesthesiology. 2006 Oct 1; 105 (4): 665-9.

    BackgroundPostsurgical administration of opiates in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has recently been linked to an increased risk for respiratory complications. The authors have attributed this association to an effect of recurrent oxygen desaturation accompanying OSA on endogenous opioid mechanisms that, in turn, alter responsiveness to subsequent administration of exogenous opiates. In a retrospective study, the authors have shown that oxygen desaturation and young age in children with OSA are correlated with a reduced opiate requirement for postoperative analgesia.MethodsThe current study was designed to test that conclusion prospectively in 22 children with OSA scheduled to undergo adenotonsillectomy. The children were stratified to those having displayed < 85% or > or = 85% oxygen saturation nadir during sleep preoperatively. Using a blinded design, the children were given morphine postoperatively to achieve an identical behavioral pain score.ResultsAs compared with children in the > or = 85% group, the < 85% oxygen saturation nadir group required one half the total analgesic morphine dose postoperatively, indicating heightened analgesic sensitivity to morphine after recurrent hypoxemia.ConclusionsPrevious recurrent hypoxemia in OSA is associated with increased analgesic sensitivity to subsequent morphine administration. Therefore, opiate dosing in children with OSA must take into account a history of recurrent hypoxemia.

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