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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2019 Jan 29. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001744. [Epub ahead of print]

The Administration of Postintubation Sedation in the Pediatric Emergency Department.

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From the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, University of Texas at Austin-Dell Medical School, Austin, TX.



The administration of postintubation sedation (PIS) is an essential component of postintubation care. Recent studies in the adult emergency medicine literature have highlighted both delays in time to administration of PIS and subtherapeutic dosing of sedative agents in the emergency department. We aimed to investigate the administration of PIS in the pediatric population as this has not been adequately reviewed to date.


The aim of this study was to determine the percentage of pediatric emergency department patients who received PIS within an adequate time frame. We also investigated the relationship between this primary outcome and the rapid sequence intubation (RSI) agents used, the reason for intubation, and individual patient characteristics.


This was a retrospective cohort analysis of all pediatric patients who underwent RSI at a tertiary care pediatric emergency department from July 2007 to January 2016. The primary outcome of "sedation in an adequate time frame" was defined as a time to post-RSI sedative administration that was shorter than the duration of action of the RSI sedative agent used. Logistic regression was performed to identify predictors of adequate sedation.


A total of 240 patients were included in the analysis. Of these, 28% (95% confidence interval, 22.7%-34.1%) met the primary outcome of sedation within an adequate time frame; 72.8% (95% confidence interval, 66.8%-78.1%) of patients received some form of PIS during their emergency department stay. Patients receiving long-acting paralytic agents were much less likely to receive PIS with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.16 for meeting the primary outcome (P < 0.001, adjusted OR [AOR] = 0.13, P < 0.001). Children with higher systolic blood pressure were more likely to receive appropriate PIS with an OR of 1.02 for every mm Hg increase in systolic blood pressure (P = 0.006, AOR = 1.02, P = 0.021). Finally, patients who were ultimately admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (vs the operating room, transfer, or neonatal intensive care unit) were less likely to receive PIS as evidenced by an OR of 0.37 (P = 0.009, AOR = 0.27, P = 0.004).


Most pediatric patients do not receive PIS within an adequate time frame. Patients who receive long-acting paralytic agents are much less likely to be adequately sedated after RSI compared with those receiving succinylcholine.

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