Rhabdomyolysis and hypoxia associated with prolonged propofol infusion in children

Neurology. 1998 Jan;50(1):301-3. doi: 10.1212/wnl.50.1.301.


Propofol, a new anesthetic, is now used more commonly to sedate patients in the intensive care unit. Propofol's rapid elimination has popularized its use to induce and maintain hypnosis in patients with refractory status epilepticus. It is also associated with occasional severe metabolic acidosis and hypoxia of indeterminate cause in children. We report a child and an adolescent who developed severe metabolic acidosis, progressive hypoxia, and rhabdomyolysis during maintenance infusion of propofol for the treatment of refractory status epilepticus. We suggest that propofol should not be used for prolonged sedation in children until its safety can be ensured.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Critical Care
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects*
  • Hypoxia / chemically induced*
  • Male
  • Propofol / adverse effects*
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Rhabdomyolysis / chemically induced*
  • Status Epilepticus / drug therapy*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Propofol