Theophylline therapy for near-fatal cheyne-stokes respiration. A case report

Catherine A. Pesek, Ryan Cooley, Krzysztof Narkiewicz, Mark Dyken, Neal L. Weintraub, Virend K. Somers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Cheyne-Stokes respiration is characterized by periodic breathing that alternates with hypopnea or apnea. Objective: To describe the effect of theophylline on near-fatal Cheyne-Stokes respiration. Design: Case report. Setting: Tertiary referral center. Patient: A 48-year-old diabetic woman with a history of three cardiorespiratory arrests, a normal coronary arteriogram, normal left ventricular function, and severe Cheyne-Stokes respiration. Measurements: Oxygen saturation, intra-arterial blood pressure, central venous pressure, chest wall movement, electrocardiography, electromyography, electroencephalography, electro-oculography, minute ventilation, arterial blood gases, and serum theophylline levels. Results: After intravenous administration of 1.2 mg of theophylline at 0.6 mg/kg per hour (serum level, 5.6 μg/ mL), both Cheyne-Stokes respiration and oxygen desaturation were markedly attenuated. After infusion of 2.4 mg of theophylline (serum level, 11.6 μg/mL), Cheyne-Stokes respiration resolved completely. No change was seen with placebo. Cheyne-Stokes respiration did not recur during outpatient treatment with oral theophylline. Conclusion: Theophylline may be a rapid and effective therapy for life-threatening Cheyne-Stokes respiration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-430
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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