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  • Evaluation of a non-invasive method of assessing opioid induced respiratory depression.

    2 July 2018

    Opioid induced respiratory depression is potentially fatal. The aim of this study was to validate a monitoring system that could be used to assess respiratory depression in postoperative patients. The hypercapnic ventilatory response was estimated non-invasively in 12 volunteers. In two steps, we tested a system which delivered carbon dioxide (CO(2)) challenges through a venturi mask, measuring changes in ventilation with an uncalibrated respiratory inductance plethysmograph (RIP). RIP and pneumotachograph measurements of ventilation, taken at the same time during a CO(2) challenge, were similar; group mean (SD), pneumotachograph 13.9 (3.5) l x min(-1) x kPa(-1), RIP 14.3 (2.9) l x min(-1) x kPa(-1). Bland-Altmann analysis showed the variation between these two methods was +/- 5 l x min(-1) x kPa(-1) (2 SD). Second, we confirmed that the venturi mask is suitable for delivering CO(2) challenges. Despite the variability in RIP measurements, a simple multimodal respiratory monitoring system could be developed that incorporates clinical observation and non-invasive measurement of the ventilatory response to CO(2).

  • The effect of remifentanil on respiratory variability, evaluated with dynamic modeling.

    2 July 2018

    Opioid drugs disrupt signaling in the brain stem respiratory network affecting respiratory rhythm. We evaluated the influence of a steady-state infusion of a model opioid, remifentanil, on respiratory variability during spontaneous respiration in a group of 11 healthy human volunteers. We used dynamic linear and nonlinear models to examine the effects of remifentanil on both directions of the ventilatory loop, i.e., on the influence of natural variations in end-tidal carbon dioxide (Pet(CO(2))) on ventilatory variability, which was assessed by tidal volume (Vt) and breath-to-breath ventilation (i.e., the ratio of tidal volume over total breath time Vt/Ttot), and vice versa. Breath-by-breath recordings of expired CO(2) and respiration were made during a target-controlled infusion of remifentanil for 15 min at estimated effect site (i.e., brain tissue) concentrations of 0, 0.7, 1.1, and 1.5 ng/ml, respectively. Remifentanil caused a profound increase in the duration of expiration. The obtained models revealed a decrease in the strength of the dynamic effect of Pet(CO(2)) variability on Vt (the "controller" part of the ventilatory loop) and a more pronounced increase in the effect of Vt variability on Pet(CO(2)) (the "plant" part of the loop). Nonlinear models explained these dynamic interrelationships better than linear models. Our approach allows detailed investigation of drug effects in the resting state at the systems level using noninvasive and minimally perturbing experimental protocols, which can closely represent real-life clinical situations.

  • Systemic blood pressure, arterial stiffness and pulse waveform analysis at altitude.

    3 July 2018

    OBJECTIVES: Systemic arterial pressure rises on acute exposure to high altitude and changes in blood pressure (BP) and endothelial function may be important in the pathogenesis of clinical syndromes occurring at high altitude. METHODS: Arterial BP, stiffness (SI) and tone (RI) were studied over 11 days in 17 subjects (three having mild hypertension) ascending to 3,450m and 4,770m using a non-invasive, finger photoplethysmography technique. RESULTS: At 3,450m BP rose from mean 131/75 mmHg (SD 23/12) to 145/86 (23/12) and was maintained at this level (p < 0.001). SI did not change significantly from 8.5 m/sec (2.5) to 9.7 (3.2). RI fell during the first day at 3,450m from 74.4% (7.9) to 70.5% (13.8) (NS p > 0.05) and to 69.9% (12.0) (p < 0.02) at 4,770m but then reverted to baseline. Changes in SI and RI did not relate to changes in blood pressure. Changes in both arterial stiffness and tone were similar in those who developed AMS compared with those who did not. Baseline SI tended to be higher in the three subjects with hypertension 11.1m/sec (SD 2.7)) compared with the normotensives 8.3 m/sec (SD 2.7) (NS) and baseline RI lower 74.7% (7.0) compared with the normotensives 76.5% (8.5) (NS). Changes in SI and RI at altitude in the hypertensive subjects were similar to the non-hypertensive subjects. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that acute exposure temporarily affected endothelial function as measured by a change in vascular tone but this did not predict the development of AMS. The rise in arterial BP was not related to changes in arterial stiffness or tone.