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Case Reports in Anesthesiology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 807398, 2 pages
Case Report

Intraoperative Pontine Infarction: A Hidden Challenge

Anesthesiology Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA

Received 29 November 2011; Accepted 2 February 2012

Academic Editor: C. Aurilio

Copyright © 2012 Nicholas Marcanthony and Ehab Farag. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Apneusis, or apneustic respirations, is characterized by an abnormal breathing pattern involving gasping and the inability to fully expire. A loss of gag reflex and other cranial nerve deficits are also often accompanied with these respiratory changes. In neurological intensive care units (NICUs), these respiratory and airway changes are not uncommon and have been well documented (Lee et al. 1976). These clinical changes are often associated with pontine trauma as it is the core pneumotaxic center in the brain stem. We describe the airway management of a patient with an acute, occult pontine infarct status post craniectomy and cervical laminectomy for decompression of known Chiari malformation in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU).