Effects of intralaryngeal carbon dioxide and acetazolamide on the laryngeal chemoreflex

Y. D. Heman-Ackah, Jr Goding

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11 Scopus citations


Sudden infant death syndrome is the leading cause of death in infants in the United States. The laryngeal chemoreflex (LCR) is thought to contribute to its pathogenesis. In adult animals, increasing levels of intralaryngeal CO2 result in a decrease in ventilatory activity. Intravenous acetazolamide (AZ) abolishes this response. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of intralaryngel CO2 and AZ on the LCR and respiratory physiology of piglets under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. We applied 0% or 10% CO2 in a randomized order to the larynx of 26 piglets. Intubation via tracheotomy prevented inhalation of the gas mixtures. Laryngeal stimulation was performed under normoxic conditions (PaO2 of >70 mm Hg) in 15 animals and under hypoxic conditions (PaO2 of 50 to 65 mm Hg) in 11 animals both with and without intravenous AZ (5 mg/kg). Respiratory and cardiovascular response data were recorded. Ten percent intralaryngeal CO2 has no significant effect on mean baseline respiratory rate, systemic PaCO2 or PaO2 levels, or apnea duration (p > .05). The use of AZ (versus no AZ) resulted in significantly higher baseline respiratory rates (64 versus 51 breaths per minute; p = .016), a decreased baseline systemic PaCO2 level (38.8 versus 45.9 mm Hg; p < .001), a higher baseline PaO2 level (97.9 versus 82.8 mm Hg; p < .001), shorter mean apnea durations (15.5 versus 24.8 seconds; p = .001), a higher lowest O2 saturation level after the stimulus (78.0% versus 68.4%; p = .003), and fewer profound apneas (10 of 90 versus 41 of 90 trials; p < .001). We conclude that 10% intralaryngeal CO2 does not decrease ventilatory activity in piglets and has no significant effect on the LCR. Acetazolamide, however, appears to have a protective effect against the LCR, resulting in shorter and less severe apneas. The protective effect of AZ against the LCR appears to be related to its ability to stimulate the respiratory drive and increase oxygenation at baseline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)921-928
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number10 I
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetazolamide
  • Apnea
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Infant
  • Laryngeal chemoreflex
  • Sudden infant death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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