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Anesth Analg. 1997 Dec;85(6):1207-13.

Adverse events and risk factors associated with the sedation of children by nonanesthesiologists.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0211, USA.

Erratum in

  • Anesth Analg 1998 Feb;86(2):227.


After implementation of hospital-wide monitoring standards, a quality assurance (QA) tool was prospectively completed for 1140 children (aged 2.96 +/- 3.7 yr) sedated for procedures by nonanesthesiologists. The tool captured data regarding demographics, medications used, adequacy of sedation, monitoring, adverse events, and requirement for escalated care. The medical records of children who experienced adverse events were reviewed. Most (99%) children were monitored with pulse oximetry. Chloral hydrate was the most frequently used sedative (74.9% of cases). Of the children, 239 (20.1%) experienced adverse events related to sedation, including inadequate sedation in 150 (13.2%) and decrease in oxygen saturation in 63 (5.5%). Five of these children experienced airway obstruction and two became apneic. No adverse event resulted in long-term sequelae. Of the 854 children who received chloral hydrate, 46 (5.4%) experienced decreased oxygen saturation (> or = 90% of baseline). Children experienced desaturation after the use of chloral hydrate had received the recommended doses of chloral hydrate (38-83 mg/kg). ASA physical status III or IV and age < 1 yr were predictors of increased risk of sedation-related adverse events. These data underscore the importance of appropriate monitoring that includes pulse oximetry to permit early detection of adverse events.


This quality assurance study highlights the risks associated with the sedation of children and emphasizes the importance of appropriate monitoring by trained personnel. Children with underlying medical conditions and those who are very young are at increased risk of adverse events, which indicates that a greater degree of vigilance may be required in these patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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