To evaluate procedural sedation (PS) in infants/children, performed by emergency physicians in a general (nonpediatric) emergency department (ED).
Procedural sedation prospectively recorded on a standardized form over 15 years. Demographics, sedatives, and analgesia associations with adverse events were explored with logistic regressions.
Of 3274 consecutive PS, 1177 were pediatric: 2 months to 21 years, mean age (±SD) 8.7 ± 5.2 years, 63% boys, 717 White, 435 Black, 25 other. Eight hundred and seventy were American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) 1, 256 ASA 2, 39 ASA 3, 11 ASA 4, 1 ASA 5. Procedural sedation indications are as follows: fracture reduction (n = 649), dislocation reduction (n = 114), suturing/wound care (n = 244), lumbar puncture (n = 49), incision and drainage (n = 37), foreign body removal (n = 28), other (n = 56). Sedatives were ketamine (n = 762), propofol ( = 354), benzodiazepines (n = 157), etomidate (n = 39), barbiturates (n = 39). There were 47.4% that received an intravenous opioid. Success rate was 100%. Side effects included nausea/vomiting, itching/rash, emergence reaction, myoclonus, paradoxical reaction, cough, hiccups. Complications were oxygen desaturation less than 90%, bradypnea respiratory rate less than 8, apnea, tachypnea, hypotension, hypertension, bradycardia, tachycardia. Normal range of vital signs was age-dependent. Seventy-four PS (6.3%) resulted in a side effect and 8 PS (3.2%) a complication. No one died, required hospital admission, intubation, or any invasive procedure.
Adverse events in infants/children undergoing PS in a general ED are low and comparable to a pediatric ED at a children's hospital. Pediatric PS can be done safely and effectively in a general ED by nonpediatric EM physicians for a wide array of procedures.