Prospective evaluation of dexmedetomidine for noninvasive procedural sedation in children

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2005 Jul;6(4):435-9; quiz 440. doi: 10.1097/01.PCC.0000163680.50087.93.


Objective: Children often require sedation for lengthy noninvasive procedures. Conventional agents such as chloral hydrate, benzodiazepines, or barbiturates have been associated with sedation failure, respiratory depression, and paradoxic agitation. Dexmedetomidine is a newer alpha(2)-adrenergic receptor agonist with sedative properties and minimal respiratory depression. We hypothesized that it would be an effective agent for these procedures.

Design: Prospective case series.

Setting: Tertiary care children's hospital.

Patients: Children undergoing noninvasive procedures.

Interventions: Children were sedated with dexmedetomidine given as a bolus of 0.5-1.0 microg/kg over 5-10 mins followed by an infusion of 0.5-1.0 microg/kg/hr. Vital signs, sedative effectiveness, recovery patterns, and complications were prospectively recorded.

Measurements and main results: Forty-eight patients, aged 6.9 +/- 3.7 yrs, were sedated. Fifteen received dexmedetomidine after failing sedation with chloral hydrate and/or midazolam. Sedation was induced with 0.92 +/- 0.36 microg/kg over 10.3 +/- 4.7 mins and maintained with an infusion of 0.69 +/- 0.32 microg/kg/hr. All procedures were completed. Heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate decreased (p < .0001) but remained within normal limits for age. End-tidal CO(2) exceeded 50 mm Hg in seven of 404 measurements (1.7%). Mean recovery time was 84 +/- 42 mins and was significantly longer in the rescue (117 +/- 41 mins) vs. primary (69 +/- 34 mins) group (p < .0001). No patient developed agitation during recovery.

Conclusions: Dexmedetomidine provided effective sedation in children undergoing noninvasive procedures and represents an alternative sedative choice for this population.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dexmedetomidine* / administration & dosage
  • Dexmedetomidine* / pharmacology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives* / administration & dosage
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives* / pharmacology
  • Infant
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radionuclide Imaging


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Dexmedetomidine