Clonidine is an antihypertensive drug used for analgosedation in the PICU. Lack of reliable data on its hemodynamic tolerance limits its use. This study explores the hemodynamic tolerance of IV clonidine infusion in a broad population of children with high severity of disease.Design:
Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data.Setting:
A tertiary and quaternary referral PICU.Patients:
Critically ill children age 0–18 years old who received an IV clonidine infusion for analgosedation of at least 1 hour.Interventions:
None.Measurements and Main Results:
The primary endpoints were the prevalences of bradycardia and hypotension. Secondary endpoints were changes in heart rate, blood pressure, Vasoactive-Inotropic Score, COMFORT Behavior score (a sedation scoring scale), and body temperature during the infusion. The association of bradycardia with other hemodynamic variables was explored, as well as potential risk factors for severe bradycardia. One-hundred eighty-six children (median age, 12.9 mo [interquartile range, 3.5–60.6 mo]) receiving a maximum median clonidine infusion of 0.7 µg/kg/hr (interquartile range, 0.3–1.5) were included. Severe bradycardia and systolic hypotension occurred in 72 patients (40.2%) and 105 patients (58%), respectively. Clonidine-associated bradycardia was hemodynamically well tolerated, as it was not related with hypotension and the need for vasoactive drugs decreased in parallel with a sedation score guided clonidine infusion rate increase. Younger age was the only identified risk factor for clonidine-associated bradycardia.Conclusions:
Although administration of clonidine is often associated with bradycardia and hypotension, these complications do not seem clinically significant in a mixed PICU population with a high degree of disease severity. Clonidine may have a vasoactive-inotropic sparing effect.