False-positive results on colorimetric carbon dioxide analysis in neonatal resuscitation: potential for serious patient harm

J Perinatol. 2007 Dec;27(12):800-1. doi: 10.1038/sj.jp.7211831.


A term infant requiring resuscitation was found to have a false-positive color change on a colorimetric carbon dioxide device as a result of administration of epinephrine via an endotracheal tube. Using models of direct application and vapor exposure with a test lung, we discovered that epinephrine, atropine, infasurf and naloxone may result in false-positive color change. This false-positive response may lead to delayed recognition of esophageal intubation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Bradycardia / drug therapy
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis*
  • Colorimetry
  • Epinephrine / administration & dosage*
  • False Positive Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Resuscitation*
  • Sympathomimetics / administration & dosage*


  • Sympathomimetics
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Epinephrine