Skip to main content

Neuromuscular effects of rapacuronium on the diaphragm and skeletal muscles in anaesthetized patients using cervical magnetic stimulation for stimulating the phrenic nerves

  • O. Moerer (a1), C. Baller (a1), J. Hinz (a1), H. Buscher (a1) and T. A. Crozier (a1)...

Background and objective: Non-depolarizing neuromuscular blocking agents have a shorter duration of action on the diaphragm than on skeletal muscles. It was to be tested if this also held true for rapacuronium, a shortacting, amidosteroid non-depolarizing neuromuscular blocker, lately withdrawn from the market, using a novel technique for stimulating the diaphragm and assessing its function.

Methods: Anaesthesia was induced with propofol 2 mg kg−1 and remifentanil 1 μg kg−1, and the trachea was intubated after topical anaesthesia. Rapacuronium was given at a dose of 1.5 mg kg−1. The diaphragm was stimulated by cervical magnetic stimulation of the phrenic nerves (2 Tesla, single coil) and airway pressure responses were measured at the endotracheal tube connector. The neuromuscular effects at the adductor pollicis and orbicularis oculi muscles were measured by acceleromyography.

Results: Fifteen males and five females (ASA I and II; 27 ± 8 yr; 73 ± 13 kg; mean ± SD) were recruited. Median maximal relaxation was less (P < 0.01) for the diaphragm (89%) than for the adductor pollicis or orbicularis oculi muscles (each 100%). The time to 25% recovery was shorter for the diaphragm than for adductor pollicis or orbicularis oculi (7.5 ± 3.1 versus 14.1 ± 3.7 and 15.1 ± 3.5 min, respectively, P < 0.01). Recovery from 25 to 75% was identical for the diaphragm and adductor pollicis (9.4 ± 2.9 versus 9.1 ± 3.5 min), but longer for orbicularis oculi (13.4 ± 4.2 min, P < 0.01). The median recovery time to TOF0.8 was shorter for the diaphragm (23.9 min) than for the adductor pollicis or orbicularis oculi muscles (31.5 and 28.4 min, respectively; P < 0.05).

Conclusions: As with other non-depolarizing muscle relaxants, the duration of the clinical effect of rapacuronium was shorter for the diaphragm than for skeletal muscle. The recovery index was identical for the diaphragm and adductor pollicis.

Corresponding author
Correspondence to: Thomas Crozier, Zentrum Anaesthesiologie, Rettungs- und Intensivmedizin, Robert Koch Str. 40, D—37075 Göttingen, Germany. E-mail:; Tel: +49 551 398824; Fax: +49 551 398676
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

European Journal of Anaesthesiology
  • ISSN: 0265-0215
  • EISSN: 1365-2346
  • URL: /core/journals/european-journal-of-anaesthesiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed