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Paediatr Anaesth. 1997;7(4):309-15.

A survey of pentobarbital sedation for children undergoing abdominal CT scans after oral contrast medium.

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  • 1British Columbia Children's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada.


Radiologists have traditionally been responsible for the sedation of children undergoing radiological investigations. Anaesthetists are becoming increasingly involved in providing sedation and/or anaesthesia in this environment. The sedation of a child for a CT scan who has recently been given oral contrast medium (OCM) may pose anaesthetists a number of dilemmas. This is a retrospective survey of 149 intravenous pentobarbital sedations administered by radiologists to children (age range three months to seven years three months, weight range 5 kg to 28.9 kg) undergoing upper abdominal CT after recent ingestion of OCM. The average patient received pentobarbital 4.6 mg.kg-1. 141 patients (94.6%) received pentobarbital as the only sedative agent, whereas eight patients (5.4%) required supplementary sedation (midazolam +/- fentanyl). There were no failed sedations. 36 complications occurred during 22 sedations (14.7% of total), with the most common being desaturation, vomiting, airway secretions, airway obstruction, coughing and bronchospasm.

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