, Volume 66, Issue 10, pp 1339-1350
Date: 12 Sep 2012

Experience with Remifentanil in Neonates and Infants

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Abstract

Remifentanil is a relatively new synthetic opioid, which is not licensed worldwide for neonates and infants. Because of its unique pharmacokinetic properties with a short recovery profile, it could be the ideal opioid for neonates and infants, who are especially sensitive to respiratory depression by opioids. Therefore, we conducted a MEDLINE search on all articles dealing with the use of remifentanil in this important subgroup of patients. Most experience with remifentanil in neonates and infants is as maintenance anaesthesia during surgery. In approximately 300 neonates and infants, remifentanil proved to be an effective and safely used opioid for this indication. However, very limited data exist on remifentanil for analgesia and sedation of mechanically ventilated paediatric intensive care patients. Further research with remifentanil in neonates and infants should focus on this group of patients because remifentanil, with its very short context-sensitive half-life, could result in shorter extubation times compared with commonly used opioids such as morphine or fentanyl.