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Decorticate posture following ‘cardiac cocktail’

A transient complication of sedation for catheterization


Two children undergoing cardiac catheterization became irritable 1–3 hours after IM premedication that included phenothiazines. IV diazepam was administered and their irritability subsided. Within another 30 minutes they developed a decorticate posture from which they recovered shortly after IV diphenhydramine hydrochloride. The decorticate posture is believed to be an idiosyncratic reaction to phenothiazines. IV diphenhydramine may be preferable to diazepam when irritability develops following premedications that include phenothiazines.

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Cohen, G.H., Casta, A., Sapire, D.W. et al. Decorticate posture following ‘cardiac cocktail’. Pediatr Cardiol 2, 251–253 (1982).

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Key words

  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Phenothiazines
  • Decorticate posture
  • Dipenhydramine