It is important to understand how the drug alters the body’s response to low oxygen levels (hypoxia) which may be encountered in the acute care setting. There are no studies that have examined effects of dexmedetomidine on the protective reflex (chemoreflex) responses to hypoxia. Severe arterial hypoxia is a potent activator of chemoreflex mechanisms in the model used in our laboratory, and by systematically analysing cardio-respiratory changes during dexmedetomidine and hypoxia in laboratory models, it will be possible to define selective effects of the drug. This study will build on previous investigations by the Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Research Laboratory examining modern anaesthetic drugs.
Professor Anthony Quail, Associate Professor David Cottee