Laryngospasm With Apparent Aspiration During Sedation With Nitrous Oxide

Ann Emerg Med. 2015 Nov;66(5):475-8. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2015.04.029. Epub 2015 May 21.


Nitrous oxide and oxygen mixture has become increasingly popular for the procedural sedation and analgesia of children in the emergency department. In general, nitrous oxide is regarded as a very safe agent according to large case series. We report a case of single-agent nitrous oxide sedation of a child, complicated by laryngospasm and radiographically confirmed bilateral upper lobe pulmonary opacities. Although rarely reported with parenteral sedative agents, laryngospasm and apparent aspiration has not been previously reported in isolated nitrous oxide sedation. This case highlights that, similar to other sedative agents, nitrous oxide administration also needs to be conducted by staff and in settings in which airway emergencies can be appropriately managed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Conscious Sedation / adverse effects*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects
  • Laryngismus / etiology*
  • Male
  • Nitrous Oxide / administration & dosage*
  • Nitrous Oxide / adverse effects
  • Respiratory Aspiration / etiology*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Nitrous Oxide