The effects of two different doses of magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) were evaluated in a group of 15 full term infants with Apgar scores of < 6 at 10 minutes, studied within 12 hours of delivery. Seven infants received 400 mg/kg MgSO4 and eight received 250 mg/kg. After the larger dose, mean arterial pressure (MAP) fell by a mean of 6 mm Hg (13%) at one hour but was not significantly reduced thereafter. Respiratory depression lasted three to six hours. EEG readings and heart rate were not significantly different. Mean serum Mg2+ increased from 0.79 to 3.6 mmol/l at one hour. After 250 mg/kg MgSO4, MAP, EEG, tone and heart rate were unchanged. One infant developed transient respiratory depression. Mean serum Mg2+ rose from 0.71 to 2.42 mmol/l at one hour. MgSO4 (400 mg/kg) has an unacceptable risk of hypotension; 250 mg/kg MgSO4 was not associated with hypotension although respiratory depression can occur.
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