Background: Neonatal intubation is stressful and should be performed with premedication. In the case of an INSURE (intubation/surfactant/extubation) procedure a short duration of action of the premedication used is needed to facilitate fast extubation. Given its pharmacological profile, remifentanil seems a suitable candidate. Objectives: The aim here was to evaluate the effect and side effects of remifentanil as a premedication for preterm neonates undergoing INSURE. Methods: A prospective, single-center study in a level III neonatal intensive care unit was conducted. The quality of sedation was assessed in preterm infants receiving remifentanil prior to intubation for the INSURE procedure. Intravenous remifentanil was administered quickly and followed by a saline flush in approximately 30 s. The quality of sedation was defined by a combination of adequate sedation score, good intubation conditions and absence of side effects. Results: The study was terminated after the inclusion of 14 patients because of the high rate of side effects and the poor intubation conditions. Adequate sedation was achieved in only 2 patients (14%). Six patients (43%) needed additional propofol to obtain adequate sedation. Chest wall rigidity occurred in 6 patients (43%). Conclusions: The rapid administration of remifentanil provides insufficient sedation and is associated with a high risk of chest wall rigidity in preterm neonates.

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Neonatology: fetal and neonatal research

de Kort, E., Hanff, L., Roofthooft, D., Reiss, I., & Simons, S. (2017). Insufficient Sedation and Severe Side Effects after Fast Administration of Remifentanil during INSURE in Preterm Newborns. Neonatology: fetal and neonatal research, 111(2), 172–176. doi:10.1159/000450536