, Volume 31, Issue 9, pp 1235-1238
Date: 22 Jul 2005

Elevated carboxyhemoglobin associated with sodium nitroprusside treatment

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To report four cases of carboxyhemoglobinemia associated with high doses of sodium nitroprusside after cardiac transplant in children.


Four children in the pediatric care unit of a university hospital aged 6 months–4 years.

Carboxyhemoglonemia developed at levels of 5.5–7.7% in patients receiving high doses of sodium nitroprusside (7–16 µg/kg per minute and no other medication that could caused elevated carboxyhemoglobin). One patient died, and three recovered with no sequelae after discontinuation of sodium nitroprusside.


High doses of sodium nitroprusside can induce carboxyhemoglobinemia in children after heart transplant, probably by inducing hemeoxygenase, with no other secondary effects.