Effects of Rapacuronium on Respiratory Function during General Anesthesia: A Comparison with cis-Atracurium

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Abstract

Background

With its introduction for widespread clinical use, there has been an increase in reports of bronchospasm related to the administration of rapacuronium. As it is commonly used for rapid sequence intubation, it has been suggested that these effects may be related to an inadequate depth of anesthesia. The current study examines the airway effects of rapacuronium in tracheally intubated, anesthetized adults.

Methods

Endotracheal intubation was accomplished without the use of neuromuscular blocking agents. Dynamic compliance, tidal volume, peak inspiratory flow rate, peak expiratory flow rate, and peak inflating pressure were measured after administration of either rapacuronium (1.5 mg/kg) or cis-atracurium (0.2 mg/kg) to 20 adult patients (10 received rapacuronium and 10 received cis-atracurium) anesthetized with propofol–remifentanil.

Results

Statistically significant increases in peak inflating pressure (22 ± 6 to 28 ± 9 cm H2O, P = 0.0012) and decreases in dynamic compliance (108 ± 43 to 77 ± 41 ml/cm H2O, P = 0.0001), peak inspiratory flow rate (0.43 ± 0.11 to 0.39 ± 0.09 l/s, P = 0.0062), peak expiratory flow rate (0.67 ± 0.10 to 0.59 ± 0.09 l/s, P =0.0015), and tidal volume (744 ± 152 to 647 ± 135 ml, P = 0.0293) occurred after administration of rapacuronium. No changes were seen after administration of cis-atracurium.

Conclusion

These data demonstrate that rapacuronium, but not cis-atracurium, has significant airway effects in intubated, mechanically ventilated adults.

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