Despite susbstansial improvements in perioperative monitoring (eg pulse oximetry) unrecognised hypoxia (deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching bodily tissues) remains a threat to the anaesthetised, sedated or recovering patient. There is mounting evidence that physiological responses to hypoxia are modified by low (sub-anaesthetic) concentrations of general anaesthetic agents. Midazolam is a modern intravenous anaesthetic drug used for induction and maintenance of anaesthesia, as well as for conscious sedation in emergency room and endoscopic procedures during which patients continue to breathe spontaneously. Despite research into its effects on cardiorespiratory physiology, the site(s) of action of midazolam in integrated cardiovascular and respiratory control systems are not fully understood. Our study in the laboratory will mimic the clinical situation and allow for better definition of the central and peripheral neural mechanisms of this commonly used sedative and anaesthetic drug.
Associate Professor Anthony Quail, Associate Professor David Cottee