Atelectasis occurs frequently in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). Impaired cough leads to ineffective clearance of secretions. If the secretions cannot be cleared and become thick and purulent, atelectasis may occur. Recombinant human DNase (rhDNase) has been shown to decrease purulent sputum viscosity in vitro. We report two SCI patients with repiratory failure due to recurrent atelectasis from purulent secretions in whom conventional treatment methods had failed. Administration of rhDNase resulted in successful resolution of atelectasis. These results suggest the need for a controlled clinical trial.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
McMichan J, Michel L, Westerbrook P (1980) Pulmonary dysfunction following traumatic quadriplegia. JAMA 243:528–531
DeVivo M, Kartus P, Stover S, Fine P (1989) Cause of death for patiens with spinal cord injuries. Arch Intern Med 149:1761–1766
Jackson A, Grooms T (1994) Incidence of respiratory complications following spinal cord injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 75:270–275
Picot R, Das I, Reid L (1978) Pus, deoxyribonucleic acid and sputum viscosity. Thorax 33:235–242
Shak S, Capon DJ, Hellniss R, Marsters SA, Baker CL (1990) Recombinant human DNase I reduces the viscosity of cystic fibrosis sputum. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 87:9188–9192
Fuchs HJ, Borowitz DS, Christianson DH, Morris EM, Nash ML, Ramsey BW, Rosenstein BJ, Smith AL, Wohl ME (1994) Effects of recombinant DNAse on exacerbations of respiratory symptoms and on pulmonary function in patients with cystic fibrosis. N Engl J Med 331: 637–642
Mansel JK, Norman JR (1990) Respiratory complications and management of spinal cord injuries. Chest 97:1446–1452
Fishburn MJ, Marino RJ, Ditunno JF (1990) Atelectasis and pneumonia in acute spinal cord injury. Archiv Phys Med Rehabil 71:197–200
Sugarman B (1985) Atelectasis in spinal cord injured people after initial medical stabilization. J Am Paraplegia Soc 8:47–50
About this article
Cite this article
Voelker, K.G., Chetty, K.G. & Mahutte, C.K. Resolution of recurrent atelectasis in spinal cord injury patients with administration of recombinant human DNase. Intensive Care Med 22, 582–584 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01708100
- Mechanical ventilation
- Spinal cord injury