Sedatives used in pediatric imaging: comparison of IV pentobarbital with IV pentobarbital with midazolam added

K P Mason, D Zurakowski, V E Karian, L Connor, P J Fontaine, P E Burrows
AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology 2001, 177 (2): 427-30

OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to evaluate safety, efficacy, and success of adding IV midazolam to an established IV pentobarbital protocol for pediatric sedation for radiologic imaging. Outcomes included sedation and discharge times as well as adverse events

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: This prospective study compared two different sedation protocols developed by the radiology sedation committee and approved by the hospital sedation committee at our institution. Patients in the pentobarbital group received IV pentobarbital alone, and patients in the pentobarbital--midazolam group received a combination of IV pentobarbital and midazolam. A total of 1070 infants and children were enrolled, and sedation data were entered into a computer database and reviewed at bimonthly radiology sedation committee meetings for safety, efficacy, efficiency, failed sedations, and adverse outcomes.

RESULTS: Mean age distribution, sex, American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status classification, fasting status, weight, and types of examinations were similarly distributed between the two study groups. Analysis of variance indicated longer times were required to sedate and to discharge patients who had received pentobarbital--midazolam (p < 0.001 for both times), even after adjusting for differences in the patients' ages and weights. The pentobarbital--midazolam group required more time to be successfully sedated and more time to discharge from the recovery room. The rates of adverse events and failed sedations were similar for both groups.

CONCLUSION: Midazolam does not have a beneficial effect on pentobarbital sedation and has no effect on the rate of adverse events. The prolonged time needed both to sedate and to discharge (timed from the initial dose of sedation) pediatric patients who have received midazolam should discourage physicians from combining it with pentobarbital for pediatric sedation.


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