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Emerg Med Australas. 2004 Apr;16(2):145-50.

Prolonged pre-procedure fasting time is unnecessary when using titrated intravenous ketamine for paediatric procedural sedation.

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Emergency Department, Royal Darwin Hospital, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.



Paediatric procedural sedation (PPS) is a common procedure in most general EDs. Many departmental guidelines suggest mandatory fasting times for children undergoing PPS, in an attempt to decrease the incidence of postoperative vomiting and (theoretically) aspiration pneumonitis, despite there being little or no evidence in the literature to support these mandatory fasting times.


To prospectively address the relationship between preprocedure fasting time and intraprocedure or postprocedure vomiting in children aged 1-12 years undergoing procedural sedation with intravenous ketamine in the ED.


From January 1999 to May 2000 all children presenting to the Royal Darwin Hospital Emergency Department with a condition requiring ketamine PPS were enrolled for data collection after parental consent was obtained. Titrated intravenous ketamine was administered via protocol. Prospective ED procedural sedation data collection forms of 272 consecutive cases of titrated intravenous ketamine sedation were reviewed.


Fasting time was accurately recorded on 257 (95%) data collection forms. There was no intraprocedure vomiting. Overall rate of postprocedure vomiting was 13.9%. No statistically significant association between decreased fasting time and increased incidence of vomiting was found. In fact, there was a trend towards increased incidence of vomiting with increased fasting time (P = 0.08). The rate of vomiting of those children fasted 3 h or greater preprocedure (20/127 or 15.8%) was over twice the rate of those fasted less than 1 hour (2/30 or 6.6%). Incidence of vomiting was significantly associated with increasing age (P = 0.0007). No clinically evident aspiration pneumonitis occurred.


Prolonged preprocedure fasting time did not reduce the incidence of postprocedure vomiting in this case series; to the contrary there was a increased incidence of vomiting with longer fasting times (P = 0.08). There was an increase in postprocedure vomiting with increasing age of the patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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