Effect of Nebulized Verapamil on Oxygenation in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Patients Admitted to the Intensive Care Unit


1 Chronic Respiratory Diseases Research Center, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Tracheal Diseases Research Center, (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Critical Care Quality Improvement Research Center, Shahid Modarres Hospital, Department of Anesthesiology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Background: Many pharmacological and behavioral therapies have been investigated to improve oxygenation in the intensive care unit (ICU). In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the purpose of therapy is to correct the ventilation perfusion (V/Q) mismatch. Agents, such as calcium blockers, can affect both ventilation and vasculature. The inhalation route allows a more rapid achievement of therapeutic effects with few systemic side effects. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the effect of nebulized verapamil on oxygenation in COPD patients.
Materials and Methods: In this double-blind, randomized clinical trial, twenty hypoxic COPD patients, admitted to ICU, were treated with 10 mg of verapamil twice daily for three days. Also, twenty patients with COPD, who were matched in terms of age, sex, and severity of the disease, were enrolled in the control group and received nebulized normal saline. The oxygenation parameters were compared using an arterial blood gas (ABG) test before and after the intervention.
Results: The mean oxygen saturation was 91.2%±12.15 before verapamil inhalation, which increased to 95.75%±14.57 after receiving nebulized verapamil (p <0.05). Also, correction of blood pH, blood oxygen pressure, and oxygen ratio (PaO2/FIO2) were higher in patients receiving verapamil, compared to the control group. The length of hospital stay was similar in the two groups. During the first three days, 30% of patients in the verapamil group and 20% of patients in the control group were intubated.
Conclusion: Our results indicated that verapamil inhalation increased oxygen saturation and accelerated extubation in patients with COPD.