Premedication for neonatal intubation in Australia and New Zealand: a survey of current practice

Ben Wheeler, Roland Broadbent, David Reith
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 2012, 48 (11): 997-1000

AIM: This study aims to describe the current approach to intubation premedication in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Australia and New Zealand.

METHODS: A literature review regarding intubation premedication in the newborn was carried out to inform questionnaire design. A web-based survey of 28 NICUs and two neonatal emergency transport services was conducted and supplemented by telephone contact to ensure completion.

RESULTS: All the tertiary NICUs and neonatal emergency transport services in Australia and New Zealand use premedication for elective intubation of neonates. Eighty per cent of units have a written policy. There were 28 of 30 units (93%) that use muscle relaxants, mostly suxamethonium. The choice of sedative medication is varied.

CONCLUSIONS:   Australian and New Zealand neonatal units have a high use of intubation premedication including muscle relaxants, but vary considerably in their choice of sedative medication.

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