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Pediatr Radiol. 2002 Jul;32(7):505-10. Epub 2002 May 1.

Sedation for pediatric diagnostic imaging: use of pediatric and nursing resources as an alternative to a radiology department sedation team.

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Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.



To develop a pathway to provide safe, effective, and efficient sedation for pediatric diagnostic imaging studies using non-radiology personnel.


A multidisciplinary team considered manpower and training requirements and national sedation standards before designing a sedation pathway, which included scheduling, pre-sedation history and physical, medication protocols, and monitoring. Oral and IV medication protocols were developed based on patient age and weight. Sedation delays were defined as >15 min (IV) or >30 min (PO) from start of sedation to start of imaging. A sedation failure resulted in an incomplete diagnostic imaging study. Failure rates of 124 sedations before and 388 sedations after the pathway were compared.


The sedation failure rate for 7 months prior to pathway initiation was 15% (19/124). In the first 25 months after pathway initiation, failures were significantly reduced to 1.5% (6/388) ( P<0.0001). Three (50%) of the six failures after pathway initiation were long examinations (>55 min). Deviation from the recommended medication protocol accounted for most of the 115 delays. Only minor adverse events were seen (12/388, 3.1%).


Implementing a pediatric sedation pathway significantly decreases the sedation failure rate. Pediatric residents and nurses can safely, effectively and efficiently sedate pediatric patients for routine diagnostic imaging procedures without the need for a radiology department sedation team in a department with a small-to-moderate volume of pediatric patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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