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Eur J Pediatr Surg. 2004 Aug;14(4):235-9.

Conscious sedation: Off-label use of rectal S(+)-ketamine and midazolam for wound dressing changes in paediatric heat injuries.

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Department of Paediatric Surgery, Dr. v. Haunersches Kinderspital München, München, Germany.



Wound dressing changes after heat injuries expose the patient to repeated painful and frightening procedures in short intervals. Safe, adequate, and easily administered analgesia and sedation are required. The goal of this study was to evaluate the off-label use of rectally administered S(+)-ketamine and Midazolam by paediatric surgeons during repeated outpatient dressing changes for paediatric burns and scalding.


A total of 47 dressing changes of 30 children with I - IIa degrees burns were evaluated. Vital signs, side-effects, complications, anxiolysis, and analgesia were recorded during the procedure and for the following two hours. Patients were assessed by a discharge scoring system and an age-appropriate pain scoring system at regular intervals. Before discharge, parents were interviewed on their level of satisfaction with the protocol.


Adequate sedation and analgesia was achieved in 44 procedures (94 %). No complications and, in particular, no compromise of breathing, ventilatory, and cardiovascular functions were recorded. The discharge scoring system indicated a return to baseline function 30 minutes after the procedure in all patients. The parents were generally very satisfied with the protocol. All children old enough to be questioned were found to have an anterograde amnesia for the duration of the procedure.


Conscious sedation with rectally applied S(+)-ketamine and Midazolam allows safe and painless dressing changes after heat injuries in children.

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