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Randomised controlled trial of low dose fentanyl infusion in preterm infants with hyaline membrane disease
  1. P Lago,
  2. F Benini,
  3. C Agosto,
  4. F Zacchello
  1. Pain Study Group and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Paediatrics, University of Padova, Italy
  1. Dr Paola Lago, Pain Study Group, Department of Paediatrics, University of Padova, Via Giustiniani 3, 35128 Padova, Italy.Email: paolal{at}


Aim—To evaluate the effects of low dose fentanyl infusion analgesia on behavioural and neuroendocrine stress response and short term outcome in premature infants ventilated for hyaline membrane disease.

METHODS Twenty seven ventilated preterm infants were randomly assigned to receive a mean fentanyl infusion of 1.1 (0.08 SE) μg/kg/h for 75 (5) hours, and 28 untreated infants were considered a control group. A behavioural sedation score was used to assess the infants’ behaviour. Urinary metanephrine and the normetanephrine:creatinine molar ratio were determined at 0, 24, 48 and 72 hours. Outcome data and ventilatory indexes were recorded for each infant.

RESULTS The fentanyl group showed significantly lower behavioural stress scores and O2 desaturations than controls and lower urinary concentrations of metanephrine and normetanephrine at 24, 48, 72 hours. The two groups showed no significant difference in ventilatory variables or short term outcome.

CONCLUSIONS A short course of low dose fentanyl infusion reduces behavioural sedation scores, O2desaturations and neuroendocrine stress response in preterm ventilated infants.

  • fentanyl
  • hyaline membrane disease
  • stress response
  • behavioural ventilation

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