Send to

Choose Destination
Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2004 Jun;17(3):247-51.

Pediatric sedation.

Author information

Department of Anesthesiology, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA.



Pediatric sedation continues to evolve. It is an area of practice that involves a variety of pediatric subspecialties, the practitioners of many of which are not fully aware of what is being done by others involved in this care. The purpose of this review is to consider the current status of pediatric sedation in general and to discuss the most recent literature concerning this practice. Specifically we will discuss the use of new medications for pediatric sedation, issues concerning fasting status, issues surrounding the effectiveness of sedation, and discharge criteria after sedation.


Propofol sedation is growing rapidly outside of the operating room environment. Emergency-medicine and intensive-care providers are regularly employing propofol for procedural sedation and reporting its effective use in their hands. Also in the emergency-medicine field, evidence is emerging that fasting status is not a particularly important factor in the genesis of critical events during sedation. Anesthesiologists are evaluating the use of dexmedetomidine for sedation of children and new reports describe the advantages of deep sedation and anesthesia over moderate sedation for painful procedures. Finally an important study shows that a patient's condition on discharge after sedation can be improved through the implementation of specific criteria using objective scoring techniques.


Anesthesiologists and those outside of anesthesiology are employing new potent sedative hypnotic agents to accomplish effective pediatric sedation. At the same time, the consensus-generated sedation guidelines--particularly with respect to fasting guidelines--are being questioned. All of this is occurring in the face of mounting evidence that sedation depth needs to be adequate to provide optimal operating conditions and patient satisfaction. Regardless of sedation method used, recovery criteria need to be carefully considered in order to optimize patient safety.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center