Comparison of sedation regimens for pediatric outpatient CT

Pediatr Radiol. 1993;23(5):341-4. doi: 10.1007/BF02011952.


The purpose of this study was to compare the concurrent use of chloral hydrate (CH), intramuscular Nembutal (IMN) and intravenous Nembutal (IVN) for sedation. Data was collected on all pediatric outpatients requiring sedation for CT over a 2.5-year period. During this period, 2178 outpatients required sedation of whom, 1324 (60.8%) received IMN, 710 (32.6%) IVN and 110 (5%) CH. The overall success rate was 97% and was similar in all three groups. IVN however, produced better-quality sedation than IMN or CH. The IVN group received a significantly lower dose of Nembutal than the IMN group (p = 0.001). Patients receiving IVN had a significantly lower induction time (p = 0.0001) and total examination time (p = 0.001) than IMN or CH. There was an increased occurrence of desaturation in patients sedated with IVN, especially in those with airway obstruction. IVN sedation permits faster, more efficient and better-quality sedation for outpatient CT scanning than IMN or CH in patients requiring intravenous contrast but may not be appropriate for departments that perform relatively few sedations or lack proper resuscitation facilities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chloral Hydrate / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Pentobarbital / administration & dosage*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Chloral Hydrate
  • Pentobarbital