We report our experience of the utilization of the 50% oxygen-nitrous oxide mixture (nitrous oxide 50%) in our general pediatric ward after one year of use.
Patients and methods: Between 1st April 1997 and 31st March 1998, children who had to undergo a painful procedure were proposed to inhale 50% nitrous oxide before the procedure. We evaluate pain, restlessness and adverse effects.
Results: The procedures (127 of them) were carried out in 90 children (61 boys). They were aged from 5 months to 15 years (mean: 5.7 years; median: 4.1 years). Indications were: lumbar puncture (n = 45), burning dressing (n = 29), venous cannulation (n = 12), minor surgery (n = 27), and miscellaneous (n = 14). Inhalation time was between 2 to 70 min (mean: 14.4 min; median: 11 min). Pain was absent or low in 106 cases (83.4%). Restlessness was absent or low in 100 cases (78.8%). Averse events were observed 12 times, but they were always minor and quickly reversible.
Conclusion: Nitrous oxide (50%) can be used successfully in a general pediatric ward. Other studies are necessary to define the best conditions.