Comparison of suxamethonium and different combinations of rocuronium and mivacurium for rapid tracheal intubation in children

Br J Anaesth. 1997 Oct;79(4):450-5. doi: 10.1093/bja/79.4.450.


The use of suxamethonium in children is associated with undesirable side effects. The synergistic effect of a rocuronium-mivacurium combination can be considered as an acceptable alternative to suxamethonium in clinical practice. The calculated ED50 of the rocuronium-mivacurium mixture was only 62% of the predicted value assuming a purely additive interaction. The use of this combination has not been evaluated in children. In this two-part study, we assessed the intubating conditions and pharmacodynamics of suxamethonium, rocuronium, mivacurium or a rocuronium-mivacurium combinations in children. We studied 120 ASA I children of both sexes, aged 3-10 yr. Children were premedicated with trimeprazine 2 mg kg-1 orally, and received fentanyl 2 micrograms kg-1 and propofol 2 mg kg-1 for induction of anaesthesia. They were allocated randomly to receive one of the following drugs or drug combinations: suxamethonium 1.0 mg kg-1, mivacurium 0.2 mg kg-1, rocuronium 0.6 or 0.9 mg kg-1, mivacurium 0.1 mg kg-1 with rocuronium 0.3 mg kg-1 or mivacurium 0.15 mg kg-1 with rocuronium 0.45 mg kg-1. In part 1, 60 s after administration of the neuromuscular blocking drug or drug combination, tracheal intubation was performed in 60 children by mimicking rapid sequence induction, and intubating conditions were evaluated by a blinded investigator according to a standard score. In part 2, neuromuscular monitoring was established before administration of neuromuscular blocking agent(s) and the time from injection of drug or drug combination until complete ablation of T1 (onset) and recovery of T1 to 25% (duration) were recorded in another 60 children. The frequency of distribution of excellent or good intubating conditions in the higher dose of rocuronium and the combination groups were similar to those in the suxamethonium group, but significantly different (P < 0.05) from those in the mivacurium group. Mean onset time was faster in the suxamethonium (55.1 (SD 11.4) s), rocuronium 0.9 mg kg-1 (70.5 (37.7) s), mivacurium 0.1 mg kg-1 with rocuronium 0.3 mg kg-1 (67 (35.9) s) and mivacurium 0.15 mg kg-1 with rocuronium 0.45 mg kg-1 (55 (26.7) s) groups compared with the mivacurium 0.2 mg kg-1 (116 (26.8) s) and rocuronium 0.6 mg kg-1 (97.9 (29) s) groups. This study demonstrated that the combination of rocuronium 0.45 mg kg-1 and mivacurium 0.15 mg kg-1 could possibly be considered as an acceptable alternative to suxamethonium when rapid sequence induction of anaesthesia is indicated in children because it provides uniform excellent intubating conditions and complete neuromuscular block in < 60 s.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Androstanols
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Synergism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal*
  • Isoquinolines
  • Male
  • Mivacurium
  • Neuromuscular Blockade*
  • Neuromuscular Depolarizing Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Neuromuscular Depolarizing Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Neuromuscular Junction / drug effects*
  • Neuromuscular Nondepolarizing Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Neuromuscular Nondepolarizing Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Rocuronium
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Succinylcholine / administration & dosage*
  • Succinylcholine / pharmacokinetics
  • Time Factors


  • Androstanols
  • Isoquinolines
  • Neuromuscular Depolarizing Agents
  • Neuromuscular Nondepolarizing Agents
  • Mivacurium
  • Succinylcholine
  • Rocuronium