Effects of aminophylline on respiratory center and reflex activity in premature infants with apnea

Tilo Gerhardt, Jean McCarthy, Eduardo Bancalari

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20 Scopus citations


Fourteen preterm infants with apnea (body weight, 1052 ± 44 g; gestational age, 30.2 ± 0.5 wks; and postnatal age, 9.9 ± 1.5 days) were studied in an effort to evaluate the effects of aminophylline on respiratory center output and respiratory reflex activity in the preterm infant with idiopathic apnea. This was done by using the airway occlusion technique. The infants were studied before and 48 hr after aminophylline was begun as a treatment for apnea. Occlusion pressure, which reflects respiratory center output, was measured at 100 msec after occlusion started (P100) and at its maximum (Pmo). P100 increased from 2.4 ± 0.2 to 3.1 ± 0.2 cmH2O (P < 0.005), and Pmo from 6.1 ± 0.7 to 8.8 ± 1.0 cmH2O (P < 0.001) after aminophylline therapy was started. The % prolongation of inspiratory time during the occluded breaths, when compared to the unoccluded breaths increased from 26.2 ± 10.6 to 55.8 ± 12.5% (P < 0.01). This reflects a significant increase in the strength of the Hering Breuer reflex. Effective elastance, a measure of respiratory load compensation, was significantly higher during aminophylline treatment. It increased from 1.09 ± 0.14 to 1.33 ± 0.14 cmH2O/ml (P < 0.02).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-191
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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