Propofol anesthesia for invasive procedures in ambulatory and hospitalized children: experience in the pediatric intensive care unit

J H Hertzog, J K Campbell, H J Dalton, G J Hauser
Pediatrics 1999, 103 (3): E30

OBJECTIVES: To describe our experience with propofol anesthesia to facilitate invasive procedures for ambulatory and hospitalized children in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) setting.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the hospital records of 115 children who underwent 251 invasive procedures with propofol anesthesia in our multidisciplinary, university-affiliated PICU during a 20-month period. All patients underwent a medical evaluation and were required to fast before anesthesia. Continuous monitoring of the patient's cardiorespiratory and neurologic status was performed by a pediatric intensivist, who also administered propofol in intermittent boluses to obtain the desired level of anesthesia, and by a PICU nurse, who provided written documentation. Data on patient demographics, procedures performed, doses of propofol used, the occurrence of side effects, induction time, recovery time, and length of stay in the PICU were obtained.

RESULTS: Propofol anesthesia was performed successfully in all children (mean age, 6.4 years; range, 10 days to 20.8 years) who had a variety of underlying medical conditions, including oncologic, infectious, neurologic, cardiac, and gastrointestinal disorders. Procedures performed included lumbar puncture with intrathecal chemotherapy administration, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, central venous catheter placement, endoscopy, and transesophageal echocardiogram. The mean dose of propofol used for induction of anesthesia was 1.8 mg/kg, and the total mean dose of propofol used was 8.8 mg/kg. In 13% of cases, midazolam also was administered but did not affect the doses of propofol used. The mean anesthesia induction time was 3.9 minutes, and the mean recovery time from anesthesia was 28.8 minutes for all patients. The mean PICU stay for ambulatory and ward patients was 140 minutes. Hypotension occurred in 50% of cases, with a mean decrease in systolic blood pressure of 25%. The development of hypotension was not associated with propofol doses, the concomitant use of midazolam, or the duration of anesthesia, but was associated with older patient age. Hypotension was transient and not associated with altered perfusion. Intravenous fluid was administered in 61% of the cases in which hypotension was present. Respiratory depression requiring transient bag-valve-mask ventilation occurred in 6% of cases and was not associated with patient age, propofol doses, concomitant use of midazolam, or the duration of anesthesia. Transient myoclonus was observed in 3.6% of cases. Ninety-eight percent of procedures were completed successfully, and no procedure failures were considered secondary to the anesthesia. Patients, parents, and health care providers were satisfied with the results of propofol anesthesia.

CONCLUSIONS: Propofol anesthesia can safely facilitate a variety of invasive procedures in ambulatory and hospitalized children when performed in the PICU and is associated with short induction and recovery times and PICU length of stay. Hypotension, although usually transient, is common, and respiratory depression necessitating assisted ventilation may occur. Therefore, appropriate monitoring and cardiorespiratory support capabilities are essential. Propofol anesthesia in the PICU setting is a reasonable therapeutic option available to pediatric intensivists to help facilitate invasive procedures in ambulatory and hospitalized children.

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