Prolonged Paralysis Associated with Long‐Term Pancuronium Use

Janet L. Haas, Mark S. Shaefer, Linda J. Miwa, R. Patrick Wood, Byers W. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

We cared for a 4‐year‐old patient who had undergone orthotopic liver transplantation and was placed on a ventilator for respiratory distress associated with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. The neuromuscular blocking agent pancuronium bromide 1.0–1.2 mg every hour as needed was used to facilitate artificial ventilation for 40 days. On discontinuation of pancuronium, the patient experienced severe, generalized neuromuscular dysfunction. Because no improvement was seen for 2 weeks, the acetylcholinesterase inhibitors edrophonium and pyridostigmine were instituted. Shortly thereafter the patient's condition began to improve. Gradual improvement occurred over 3–4 months and the patient has since returned to baseline neurologic function. We suggest that long‐term pancuronium use was the cause of the patient's prolonged paralysis. The improvement experienced after the initiation of antidotal therapy strongly supports our proposal. 1989 Pharmacotherapy Publications Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-157
Number of pages4
JournalPharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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