Respiratory depression at birth-value of Apgar score and ventilatory measurements in its detection

Tilo Gerhardt, Eduardo Bancalari, Harry Cohen, Maximo Macias-Loza

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10 Scopus citations


The purpose of this investigation was to determine the value of ventilatory measurements and Apgar score in the diagnosis of respiratory depression in the newborn infant. The following were the results of the determinations made in 24 neonates whose mothers had received meperidine in a total dose up to 3 mg/kg within three hours prior to delivery: Respiratory rate, 51±3.7/minute; tidal volume, 21.4±1.5 ml; minute ventilation, 339±24 ml/kg×minute; end tidal CO2, 40.8±1.3 mm Hg; ventilatory response to CO2, 21.8±2.7 ml/kg×minute×mm Hg PaCO2. The mean Apgar score was 7.1 and 9.0 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. None of the determinations were indicative of respiratory depression with the exception of the slope of the CO2 response curve; it was considered to be below the normal range. No correlations existed between the CO2 response curve and any of the other values. It is concluded that meperidine administered to mothers in labor in the described dose will not significantly alter Apgar score, VE, VT, RR, and PaCO2 in the newborn infant. The extent of respiratory center depression could be determined only by the decreased ventilatory response to CO2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)971-975
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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