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Am J Emerg Med. 2012 Nov;30(9):1981-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2012.04.030. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Clinical effects of adjunctive atropine during ketamine sedation in pediatric emergency patients.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do 463-707, Republic of Korea.



The prophylactic coadministration of anticholinergics during dissociative sedation has been considered necessary to mitigate ketamine-associated hypersalivation. Given recent conflicting conclusions regarding adjunctive atropine, we compared the incidence of hypersalivation, degree of secretion, and related side effects with atropine or placebo as an adjunct to intravenous (IV) ketamine sedation for children.


This controlled trial randomized children, 1 to 10 years old, requiring ketamine sedation in a tertiary emergency department to receive 0.01 mg/kg of atropine or placebo, along with IV ketamine (2 mg/kg). A nurse rated preprocedure and postprocedure salivation on a 100-mm visual analog scale and recorded the frequency and nature of airway complications and interventions for hypersalivation.


During 27 months, 140 patients were enrolled. Baseline characteristics did not differ between the 2 groups (P > .05). Secretion was significantly less in the atropine vs placebo group (mean visual analog scale score ± SD, 21.2 ± 13.1 [preprocedure] to 16.5 ± 9.9 [postprocedure] vs 22.4 ± 13.5 [preprocedure] to 27.0 ± 15.9 [postprocedure], respectively; P < .05). Visual analog scale scores greater than 50 were assigned to 7 (9.7%) of 72 and 1 (1.5%) of 68 patients in the placebo and atropine groups, respectively; these patients needed only medical procedures such as suction or airway repositioning. Heart rate was significantly higher in the atropine group compared with the placebo group (P < .05). There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of other adverse events.


Atropine as an adjunct to IV ketamine sedation in children significantly reduced hypersalivation, without providing a clinical benefit.


[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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