An audit of adverse events in children sedated with chloral hydrate or propofol during imaging studies

Paediatr Anaesth. 1995;5(6):375-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9592.1995.tb00330.x.


We examined records of sedations provided by the paediatric anaesthesiology staff for 455 children (ages 1 mo-17 yr) undergoing MRI or CT scans at our institution over a twelve-month period with regard to the monitoring of adverse events: excessive sedation, agitation, vomiting, hypoxaemia, and major airway compromise. One hundred-and-thirty-one patients (29%) received chloral hydrate; 324 patients (71%) received propofol. All patients were monitored with continuous noninvasive pulse oximetry and received supplemental oxygen via nasal cannulae. Of the patients who received chloral hydrate, 64 (49%) were over one year of age; of the patients who received propofol, 318 (98%) were one year of age or older. In the chloral hydrate group, 23 patients (19%) were deemed excessively sedated and four patients (3%) were agitated; no patients in the propofol group experienced any of the adverse outcomes reviewed. Furthermore, no patients in either group had significant airway compromise and none was admitted to the hospital as a result of the sedation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chloral Hydrate / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Medical Audit
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Oximetry
  • Propofol / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Chloral Hydrate
  • Propofol