Trends in Outpatient Procedural Sedation: 2007-2018

Pediatrics. 2020 May;145(5):e20193559. doi: 10.1542/peds.2019-3559.


Background: Pediatric subspecialists routinely provide procedural sedation outside the operating room. No large study has reported trends in outpatient pediatric procedural sedation. Our purpose in this study was to identify significant trends in outpatient procedural sedation using the Pediatric Sedation Research Consortium.

Methods: Prospectively collected data from 2007 to 2018 were used for trending procedural sedation. Patient characteristics, medications, type of providers, serious adverse events, and interventions were reported. The Cochran-Armitage test for trend was used to explore the association between the year and a given characteristic.

Results: A total of 432 842 sedation encounters were identified and divided into 3 4-year epochs (2007-2011, 2011-2014, and 2014-2018). There was a significant decrease in infants <3 months of age receiving procedural sedation (odds ratio = 0.97; 95% confidence interval, 0.96-0.98). A large increase was noticed in pediatric hospitalists providing procedural sedation (0.6%-9.5%; P < .001); there was a decreasing trend in sedation by other providers who were not in emergency medicine, critical care, or anesthesiology (13.9%-3.9%; P < .001). There was an increasing trend in the use of dexmedetomidine (6.3%-9.3%; P < .001) and a decreasing trend in the use of chloral hydrate (6.3%-0.01%; P < .001) and pentobarbital (7.3%-0.5%; P < .001). Serious adverse events showed a nonsignificant increase overall (1.35%-1.75%).

Conclusions: We report an increase in pediatric hospitalists providing sedation and a significant decrease in the use of chloral hydrate and pentobarbital by providers. Further studies are required to see if sedation services decrease costs and optimize resource use.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / trends*
  • Anesthesia / methods
  • Anesthesia / trends*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Conscious Sedation / methods
  • Conscious Sedation / trends
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Outpatients
  • Pediatrics / methods
  • Pediatrics / trends
  • Prospective Studies


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives