Effect of increasing depth of dexmedetomidine and propofol anesthesia on upper airway morphology in children and adolescents with obstructive sleep apnea

Mohamed Mahmoud, Dorothy Jung, Shelia Salisbury, John McAuliffe, Joel Gunter, Mario Patio, Lane F. Donnelly, Robert Fleck

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51 Scopus citations


Study Objective To examine the dose-response effects of dexmedetomidine (DEX) and propofol (PROP) on airway morphology in children and adolescents with a history of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Design Prospective, single-blinded, controlled comparative study. Setting University-affiliated teaching hospital. Patients 60 patients with a history of OSA who presented for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sleep study. Interventions Patients were randomized to two equal groups (DEX or PROP). Magnetic resonance images of the airway were obtained during low (1 μg/kg/hr) and high (3 μg/kg/hr) doses of DEX, or low (100 μg/kg/m) and high (200 μg/kg/m) doses of PROP, based on group assignment. Measurements The airway anteroposterior (AP) diameter, transverse diameter, and sectional areas were measured at the level of the nasopharyngeal airway and retroglossal airway. The influence of the two drugs and OSA severity, as determined by polysomnography, on airway dimensions was examined using mixed-effects analysis of covariance models. Main Results Upper airway morphology was completed in 45 patients. Most airway measurements showed statistically nonsignificant associations with increasing doses of PROP and DEX. As the dosage increased, average airway dimensions were typically unchanged or slightly increased with DEX compared with airway dimensions that were unchanged or slightly decreased with PROP. An airway intervention was required in three children (11%) in the DEX group and 7 children (23%) in the PROP group (P = NS). Conclusions Both agents provided an acceptable level of anesthesia for MRI sleep studies in patients with OSA, with statistically nonsignificant changes in airway dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-541
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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