Pediatric and emergency medicine residents' attitudes and practices for analgesia and sedation during lumbar puncture in pediatric patients

Pediatrics. 2007 Mar;119(3):e631-6. doi: 10.1542/peds.2006-0727. Epub 2007 Feb 5.


Objective: Analgesia and sedation for painful procedures in children are safe and effective, yet our experience is that pain management during lumbar puncture is suboptimal. We aim to document factors that influence residents' decisions to use analgesia and sedation during lumbar puncture and to compare pediatric and emergency medicine residents' practices.

Methods: A survey was developed and sent to pediatric and emergency medicine residents from across Canada that inquired about clinical practices, learning experiences, current use of analgesia and sedation for lumbar puncture, and their clinical reasoning for using or abstaining from using analgesia and sedation. The Student's t and chi2 tests were used to compare the 2 resident groups.

Results: Of the 374 residents to whom the survey was sent, 245 completed the survey. Pediatric residents reported performing lumbar punctures with no local anesthetic much more frequently. Pediatric residents used EMLA (AstraZeneca, Wilmington, DE) more frequently and injectable lidocaine less frequently. Pediatric residents used sedation for lumbar puncture at least once, more frequently than emergency medicine residents, and used mostly benzodiazepines. Both groups used ketamine at a similar rate. Pediatric residents reported that they witnessed adverse events of sedation more frequently. Although pediatric residents were responsible for teaching trainees the lumbar-puncture procedure significantly more frequently, they reported less educational opportunities during residency themselves and that they were less likely to recommend the use of local anesthetic during lumbar puncture when teaching the procedure.

Conclusions: Several significant differences exist between the pediatric residents and emergency medicine residents we surveyed. Pediatric residents were using less injectable local anesthesia for lumbar puncture in children and more sedation for the procedure and have had notably less training in the use of sedation. Pediatric residents have more teaching responsibilities than their emergency medicine residents colleagues and are inconsistently recommending the use of local anesthetics for lumbar puncture.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Analgesia / methods*
  • Anesthesia, Local / methods
  • Canada
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conscious Sedation / methods*
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / prevention & control
  • Pain Measurement / statistics & numerical data
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spinal Puncture / adverse effects
  • Spinal Puncture / methods*