Premedication for neonatal intubation in Australia and New Zealand: a survey of current practice

J Paediatr Child Health. 2012 Nov;48(11):997-1000. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2012.02589.x. Epub 2012 Oct 8.


Aim: This study aims to describe the current approach to intubation premedication in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Australia and New Zealand.

Methods: A literature review regarding intubation premedication in the newborn was carried out to inform questionnaire design. A web-based survey of 28 NICUs and two neonatal emergency transport services was conducted and supplemented by telephone contact to ensure completion.

Results: All the tertiary NICUs and neonatal emergency transport services in Australia and New Zealand use premedication for elective intubation of neonates. Eighty per cent of units have a written policy. There were 28 of 30 units (93%) that use muscle relaxants, mostly suxamethonium. The choice of sedative medication is varied.

Conclusions: Australian and New Zealand neonatal units have a high use of intubation premedication including muscle relaxants, but vary considerably in their choice of sedative medication.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal*
  • New Zealand
  • Premedication / statistics & numerical data*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives