Current Anesthesiology Reports

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 157–160 | Cite as

Neuromuscular Blocking Drugs and Postoperative Pulmonary Complications

  • Letha Mathews
  • Jesse M. Ehrenfeld
Neuromuscular Blockade (GS Murphy, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Neuromuscular Blockade


Purpose of Review

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a brief review of the literature around the relationship between the use of neuromuscular blocking drugs and subsequent postoperative pulmonary complications.

Recent Findings

A recent series of retrospective studies evaluating the use of neuromuscular blocking agents and postoperative complications have demonstrated growing evidence for a clear relationship between the use of the agents and downstream complications. The frequency of postoperative respiratory problems seems to be mitigated to some degree through the appropriate use of reversal agents.


Care should be exercised when administering neuromuscular blocking agents during surgical procedures. Appropriate monitoring of neuromuscular transmission should be used along with a strategy to provide adequate reversal at the end of the surgical procedure.


Neuromuscular blocker Postoperative complications Pulmonary Anesthesiology Anesthesia reversal Postoperative pneumonia 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Letha Mathews and Jesse M. Ehrenfeld declare they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of NeuroanesthesiologyVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Vanderbilt Anesthesiology & Perioperative Informatics Research DivisionVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA

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