The use of propofol sedation in a paediatric intensive care unit

Marie-Louise Svensson, Lars Lindberg
Nursing in Critical Care 2012, 17 (4): 198-203

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to prospectively evaluate and report the experience of the use of continuous intravenous propofol sedation in a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU).

METHODS: All children younger than 16 years who were admitted to the PICU at a University Hospital for slightly more than a year and received propofol infusion were included prospectively and data were recorded before and within 6 h after completion of the propofol infusion.

RESULTS: A total of 174 out of 955 children (18·2%) received propofol infusion for sedation. The median age was 2 years 10 months (range: 2 months to 16 years), duration of propofol infusion 13 h (range: 1·6-179 h) and dose of propofol 2·9 mg/kg/h (range: 0·3-6·5 mg/kg/h). No one developed signs of the propofol infusion syndrome (PRIS). Neither dose >3 mg/kg/h, duration of infusion >48 h nor both were found to be related to adverse metabolic derangements or circulatory failure. Eight children increased their lactate concentration ≥1·8 mmol/L during propofol infusion. All had a favourable outcome. One child who had received propofol infusion for 10 h died, but this occurred 14 h after the infusion ceased and was without doubt attributed to a multiple organ failure not related to the propofol infusion.

CONCLUSION: Propofol infusion was used in this population at low risk of PRIS with no metabolic or circulatory adverse effects. These findings indicate that the occurrence of adverse effects may not be directly related to dose or duration of infusion, but emphasizes the risk that sporadic factors may be involved, such as genetic mutations. Guidelines are presented.

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