Sedation in pediatric CT: national survey of current practice

Radiology. 1990 Jun;175(3):745-52. doi: 10.1148/radiology.175.3.2343126.


To document current sedation practices in computed tomographic (CT) examination of children, a questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 2,000 hospitals with CT scanners in the United States. Responses were received from 834 hospitals (42%). Of these, 450 were reported to conduct pediatric CT with sedation. Approximately one-half of the examinations were conducted in pediatric hospitals or medical schools. Most hospitals did not require signed consent for CT with light sedation, even when intravenously or orally administered contrast medium was used. Signed consent for CT with deep sedation was required in 62% of hospitals. Monitoring techniques and personnel present during CT with sedation varied greatly, as did oral intake protocols for examinations with oral contrast material or no contrast material. Use of intubation during CT with oral contrast medium was rare. Orally administered chloral hydrate was the most frequently used first-line drug for sedation in most types of CT studies. The great variation in practices indicates a lack of settled standards for sedation during pediatric diagnostic examinations. Many procedures reported for pediatric CT with sedation are at variance with recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Anesthesia*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage
  • Data Collection
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Informed Consent
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed* / adverse effects


  • Contrast Media
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives