Atrial arrhythmia after newborn eye exam, to caffeine or not to caffeine?


Mydriatic drops are routinely administered to premature neonates to screen for retinopathy of prematurity. Adverse anticholinergic side effects, particularly convulsions and tachycardia have been reported in the pediatric age group following instillation of mydriatics for diagnostic fundus examination [1, 2 ]. Caffeine is frequently used for apnea of prematurity. In the neonatal intensive care unit, the combined use of caffeine and mydriatic drops is a common practice. Here we report two cases of atrial arrhythmias after neonatal eye exam that improved with conservative management. Both patients were receiving caffeine at the time of events.

*Corresponding Author: 

Attila Ahmad, MD, Department of Pediatrics, McMaster Children’s Hospital, 1200 Main St. West, Hamilton, L8N 3Z5 ON, Canada. Tel.: +1 905 541 3020; E-mail: