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Ann Emerg Med. 2009 Aug;54(2):191-97.e1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2009.04.015. Epub 2009 May 22.

Procedural sedation and analgesia outcomes in children after discharge from the emergency department: ketamine versus fentanyl/midazolam.

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  • 1Section of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.



Although the safety and efficacy of procedural sedation and analgesia in the pediatric emergency department (ED) has been established, the prevalence of adverse events after discharge has not been well studied. We compare the postdischarge incidence of adverse behavioral events and vomiting and hypothesize that ketamine would be associated with increased adverse behaviors.


We conducted a prospective observational study of postdischarge behavioral changes and vomiting after sedation with ketamine, ketamine/midazolam, or fentanyl/midazolam. Families were administered a Post Hospital Behavior Questionnaire (PHBQ), with higher scores indicating more adverse behaviors (anxiety, sleep disturbances). We used linear and logistic regression to model PHBQ scores and logistic regression to model vomiting risk adjusting for age, sex, procedure, length of procedure, and parental presence as potential confounders.


Seven hundred eighty-six children were enrolled and 554 children (61% boys; mean age 7.5+/-4.5 years) were contacted. The prevalence of postdischarge vomiting was 18%, but the prevalence of adverse behavioral changes was low. When adjusted for potential confounders, the odds of a higher PHBQ score increased among patients receiving fentanyl/midazolam (fentanyl/midazolam odds ratio [OR] 2.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08 to 6.03, P=.03; ketamine OR 1.7, 95% CI 0.84 to 3.57; ketamine/midazolam OR 0.5, 95% CI 0.26 to 1.07).


Procedural sedation and analgesia in the ED is well tolerated. Though postdischarge vomiting occurs with some frequency, there is a low prevalence of adverse behavioral events after discharge. The use of fentanyl/midazolam was associated with higher adverse behavioral scores.

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