The relationship between alfentanil distribution kinetics and cardiac output

Thomas K. Henthorn*, Tom C Krejcie, Michael J Avram

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The relationship between cardiac output and the tissue distribution of alfentanil was investigated in seven healthy volunteers. Subjects were given 10 µg/kg alfentanil and 0.5 mg/kg indocyanine green. Arterial blood samples were obtained at baseline, 1 minute, every ½ minute until 5 minutes, and then every minute until 15 minutes after the drug injection was begun. Subsequent samples were collected to 6 hours. Cardiac output was measured continuously by use of thoracic bioimpedance. Alfentanil pharmacokinetics were modeled with both a standard three‐compartment model and a four‐compartmental model based in part on the two‐compartmental pharmacokinetics of indocyanine green. The sum of intercompartmental clearances for both the three‐ and four‐compartment models were significantly correlated with the measured cardiac outputs, r = 0.93 and r = 0.88, respectively. These findings indicate that the intercompartmental clearance (i.e., tissue distribution) of alfentanil is largely determined by cardiac output (i.e., tissue blood flow). Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (1992) 52, 190–196; doi:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-196
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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