The use of a pediatric emergency medicine-staffed sedation service during imaging: a retrospective analysis

Am J Emerg Med. 2007 Jul;25(6):654-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2006.11.043.


Hypothesis: A sedation service staffed by pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) physicians can sedate children during imaging, with a low adverse event risk and minimal sedation failures.

Design/methods: We reviewed 1042 PEM-administered sedations during a 12-month period, collecting data regarding demographics, presedation evaluation, medications used, sedation length, adverse events, corrective measures, and postsedation disposition. Successful image completion without patient awakening defined effective sedation. Minor adverse events included hypoxia (<93%), malaligned airway, self-resolving transient bradycardia, and atypical reactions to sedation agents. Cardiorespiratory incidents requiring resuscitation were considered major events.

Results: Of 923 sedation episodes, 92 (10.0%) experienced adverse events; 7 (0.76%) were major. Sedation failed in 17 (1.8%). No sedation resulted in an increased level of care or permanent injury.

Conclusions: A PEM-staffed sedation service provided sedation to children undergoing imaging with a low adverse event risk, minimal failures, and no residual morbidity. However, all sedating clinicians should possess critical airway skills.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conscious Sedation* / adverse effects
  • Conscious Sedation* / statistics & numerical data
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Emergency Medicine*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pediatrics*
  • Radiology Department, Hospital*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Workforce