Comparison of intermittent versus continuous infusion of propofol for elective oncology procedures in children

Scott M Klein, Gabriel J Hauser, Barry D Anderson, Aziza T Shad, Joseph E Gootenberg, Heidi J Dalton, James H Hertzog
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 2003, 4 (1): 78-82

OBJECTIVE: To compare the effects of administering propofol as a continuous infusion vs. bolus dosing in children undergoing ambulatory oncologic procedures in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).

DESIGN: Prospective, randomized study.

SETTING: Tertiary PICU in a university hospital.

PATIENTS: Ambulatory oncology patients scheduled for diagnostic or therapeutic procedures with propofol anesthesia in the PICU were eligible for enrollment.

INTERVENTIONS: Patients were randomly assigned to receive either continuous infusion or bolus administration of propofol in a protocol-driven manner. All patients received an initial bolus of 1.5 mg/kg, with additional 0.5 mg/kg doses until complete induction. Continuous infusions were started at 0.1 mg/kg/min and, if needed, increased 20% after a bolus of 0.5 mg/kg. Bolus group patients were given doses of 0.5 mg/kg if needed. Ramsay scores of < 5 were used as criteria for additional dosing.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Eighteen patients undergoing 40 separate procedures were enrolled during the study period. Twenty procedures each were performed with continuous or bolus administration of propofol. No differences were present between groups in demographic characteristics, induction dose and time, procedure and recovery times, or adverse events. All patients had adequate anesthesia and favorable satisfaction scores. More boluses were needed in the bolus group (8.5 +/- 4.6 vs. 5.4 +/- 2.9; p < .05). Average systolic blood pressure decreased more in the continuous infusion group (26.4% +/- 12 vs. 19.3% +/- 10; p < .05). Total propofol dose was higher in the continuous infusion group (8.0 mg/kg +/- 3.8 vs. 5.7 mg/kg +/- 2.4; p < .05).

CONCLUSION: Both continuous and bolus administration of propofol provided conditions for conducting oncologic procedures that were satisfying to patients, their families, and physicians. Continuous infusions were associated with a larger total dose and greater decreases in systolic blood pressure. Physician preference is likely to dictate which method is used.

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