Background: The purpose of our study was to determine whether a smaller dose of rocuronium than previously reported could provide similar intubating conditions to suxamethonium during rapid-sequence induction of anaesthesia in children.
Methods: One hundred and twenty ASA I, unpremedicated children, aged 1-10 years, who were undergoing elective surgery, were randomized into three groups to receive rocuronium 0.6 mg.kg-1, rocuronium 0.9 mg.kg-1 or suxamethonium 1.5 mg.kg-1. The study was double-blinded, anaesthesia and timing of injection was standardized to alfentanil 10 microg.kg-1, thiopentone 5 mg.kg-1 and the study drug. Intubation was attempted at 30 s after injection of neuromuscular relaxant and intubating conditions graded as excellent, good, poor or impossible.
Results: All 120 children were successfully intubated within 60 s without need for a second attempt after administration of neuromuscular relaxant. Differences between suxamethonium and rocuronium 0.6 mg.kg-1 and between the two doses of rocuronium were statistically significant (P=0.016 and 0.007, respectively).
Conclusions: Rocuronium 0.9 mg.kg-1 provides similar intubating conditions to suxamethonium 1.5 mg.kg-1 during modified rapid-sequence induction using alfentanil and thiopentone in children (P=0.671). Rocuronium 0.6 mg.kg-1 was inadequate.