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Use of methohexital for elective intubation in neonates
  1. G Naulaers,
  2. E Deloof,
  3. C Vanhole,
  4. E Kola,
  5. H Devlieger
  1. Department of Paediatrics, UZ Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium
  1. H Devlieger, Department of Paediatrics, UZ Gasthuisberg, Herestraat, B-300 Leuven, Belgium.


The effectiveness and safety of a short acting barbiturate, methohexital, was assessed for its use at the time of elective intubation in 18 newborn infants with severe respiratory or cardiac conditions. Evaluation included the speed of action and the degree of relaxation, sedation, and sleep in the first five minutes after administration. All newborn infants were intubated in a fully relaxed and somnolent state. In most infants recovery was completed within five minutes.

 A slight to moderate oxygen saturation drop was observed during the period of intubation, especially in patients with cyanotic heart disease. The side effects of the drug were twitching and a slight drop in blood pressure.

 In conclusion, methohexital seems to be a useful drug for short term anaesthesia in neonates, during which, short procedures like elective intubation can be safely performed.

  • methohexital
  • intubation
  • anaesthesia

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