Effects of opioids on respiration assessed by a contact-free unconstraint respiratory monitor with load cells under the bed in patients with advanced cancer

Makoto Hasegawa, Natsuko Nozaki-Taguchi, Koyo Shono, Yuko Mizuno, Hiromichi Takai, Yasunori Sato, Shiroh Isono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Nocturnal periodic breathing of chronic opioid users has been predominantly documented by the use of polysomnography. No previous studies have assessed the opioid effects of respiratory rhythms throughout the day without the use of physical restraint. We recently developed a contact-free unconstraint vital sign monitoring system with four load cells placed under the bed legs, which allows continuous measurements of respiratory change at the center of gravity on the bed. We aimed to reveal details of the patient’s 24-h respiratory status under a monitoring system and to test the hypothesis that respiratory rhythm abnormalities are opioid dose-dependent and worsen during the night time. Continuous 48-h respiratory measurements were successfully performed in 51 patients with advanced cancer (12 opioid-free patients and 39 opioid-receiving patients). Medians of respiratory variables with minimal body movement artifacts were calculated for each 8-h split time period. Compared with opioid-free patients, opioid-receiving patients had slower respiratory rate with higher respiratory rate irregularity without changing tidal centroid shift regardless of the time period. Irregular ataxic breathing was only identified in opioid-receiving patients (33%, P = 0.023) whereas incidence rate of periodic breathing did not differ between the groups. Multivariate regression analyses revealed that opioid dose was an independent risk factor for occurrence of irregular breathing [odds ratio 1.81 (95% CI: 1.39–2.36), P < 0.001], and ataxic breathing [odds ratio 2.08 (95% CI: 1.60–2.71), P < 0.001]. Females developed the ataxic breathing at lower opioid dose compared with males. We conclude that respiratory rhythm irregularity is a predominant specific feature of opioid dose-dependent respiratory depression particularly in female patients with advanced cancer. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Through usage of a novel contact-free unconstraint vital sign monitoring system with four load cells placed under the bed legs allowing continuous measurements of respiratory changes of center of gravity on the bed, this study is the first to assess detailed respiratory characteristics throughout day and night periods without interference of daily activities in patients with advanced cancer receiving opioids. Respiratory rhythm irregularity is a predominant specific feature of opioid dose-dependent respiratory depression particularly in female patients with advanced cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1743-1753
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Volume130
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun

Keywords

  • Ataxic breathing
  • Opioid
  • Palliative care
  • Respiration
  • Respiratory depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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