Research suggests that young children experience an increased incidence and severity of discomfort during propofol infusion. Evaluations of varied interventions to reduce or eliminate this discomfort with adult subjects suggest that premedication with intravenously administered lidocaine (0.5 mg/kg) offers the best overall effectiveness.
Because this regimen’s efficacy in a pediatric population is undocumented, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to determine the effectiveness of intravenous lidocaine pretreatment to alleviate pain in pediatric subjects before propofol infusion.
Subjects (aged 2–7 years) scheduled for painless diagnostic procedures received either a saline placebo or 1 of 2 lidocaine doses before administering propofol. To capture the patient’s baseline behavioral state, a trained observer administered the validated Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, Consolability Pain Assessment Scale before propofol infusion. During deep sedation induction, the sedating physician, a trained research assistant, and the patient’s parent documented maximum distress using a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS).
Ninety-one subjects participated. We found no difference in VAS pain scores between groups pretreated with lidocaine 0.25 mg/kg, lidocaine 0.5 mg/kg, and placebo. Statistical analysis also found no interrater differences between parents, physician, or observer VAS scores.
Our data do not support using lidocaine pretreatment to alleviate pain/discomfort in pediatric patients during propofol infusion.