Use of sodium nitroprusside in neonates: efficacy and safety

J Pediatr. 1985 Jan;106(1):102-10. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(85)80477-7.


Sodium nitroprusside was administered to 58 neonates, including 11 with severe respiratory distress syndrome, 15 with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, 28 with clinical shock, three with systemic hypertension, and two with pulmonary hypoplasia, all refractory to conventional intensive therapy. Nitroprusside was infused at 0.2 to 6.0 micrograms/kg/min for periods of 10 minutes to 126 hours. Infants with severe respiratory distress syndrome had increased PaO2 and decreased PaCO2 or peak inspiratory pressure, and nearly all (82%) survived. Infants with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn had variable responses; improvement did not correlate with survival, but survival (47%) was identical to that in an earlier series of infants given tolazoline. Infants in shock had improved perfusion, urine output, and serum bicarbonate levels, and these responses were significantly related to survival. Hypertension was controlled in all three hypertensive infants. Adverse effects were very uncommon. Toxic effects were not observed. Sodium nitroprusside is effective and can be used safely in circulatory disorders in the neonate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bicarbonates / blood
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Ferricyanides / therapeutic use*
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / mortality
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / physiopathology
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Inhalation
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung Diseases / drug therapy
  • Meconium
  • Nitroprusside / administration & dosage
  • Nitroprusside / adverse effects
  • Nitroprusside / therapeutic use*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Persistent Fetal Circulation Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / drug therapy
  • Shock / drug therapy


  • Bicarbonates
  • Ferricyanides
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Nitroprusside
  • Oxygen