The Use of Caffeine Citrate for Respiratory Stimulation in Acquired Central Hypoventilation Syndrome: A Case Series

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0003

Introduction: Caffeine is commonly used as a respiratory stimulant for the treatment of apnea of prematurity in neonates. However, there are no reports to date of caffeine used to improve respiratory drive in adult patients with acquired central hypoventilation syndrome (ACHS).
Presentation of case series: We report two cases of ACHS who were successfully liberated from mechanical ventilation after caffeine use, without side effects. The first case was a 41-year-old ethnic Chinese male, diagnosed with high-grade astrocytoma in the right hemi-pons, intubated and admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) in view of central hypercapnia with intermittent apneic episodes. Oral caffeine citrate (1600mg loading followed by 800mg once daily) was initiated. His ventilator support was weaned successfully after 12 days. The second case was a 65-year-old ethnic Indian female, diagnosed with posterior circulation stroke. She underwent posterior fossa decompressive craniectomy and insertion of an extra-ventricular drain. Post-operatively, she was admitted to the ICU and absence of spontaneous breath was observed for 24 hours. Oral caffeine citrate (300mg twice daily) was initiated and she regained spontaneous breath after 2 days of treatment. She was extubated and discharged from the ICU.
Conclusion: Oral caffeine was an effective respiratory stimulant in the above patients with ACHS. Larger randomized controlled studies are needed to determine its efficacy in the treatment of ACHS in adult patients.

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