Background: Both midazolam and parental presence during induction of anesthesia are routinely used to treat preoperative anxiety in children. The purpose of this investigation was to determine which of these two interventions is more effective.
Methods: Anxiety of the child during the perioperative period was the primary end point. Secondary end points included anxiety of the parent and compliance of the child during induction. Children (n = 88) were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) 0.5 mg/kg oral midazolam; (2) parental presence during induction of anesthesia; or (3) control (no parental presence or premedication). Using multiple behavioral measures of anxiety, the effect of the intervention on the children and their parents was assessed.
Results: Observed anxiety in the holding area (T1), entrance to the operating room (T2), and introduction of the anesthesia mask (T3) differed significantly among the three groups (P = 0.032). Post hoc analysis indicated that children in the midazolam group exhibited significantly less anxiety compared with the children in the parental-presence group or control group (P = 0.0171). Similarly, parental anxiety scores after separation were significantly less in the midazolam group compared with the parental-presence or control groups (P = 0.048). The percentage of inductions in which compliance of the child was poor was significantly greater in the control group compared with the parental-presence and midazolam groups (25% vs. 17% vs. 0%, P = 0.013).
Conclusions: Under the conditions of this study, oral midazolam is more effective than either parental presence or no intervention for managing a child's and parent's anxiety during the preoperative period.