Propofol for kids in the ED

A systematic review of the use of propofol for paediatric procedural sedation (PPS) identified sixty studies and 17 066 published paediatric propofol sedations performed outside the operating theatre setting. The incidence of complications were: desaturation 9.3%, apnoea 1.9%, assisted ventilation 1.4%, hypotension 15.4%, unplanned intubation 0.02%, emesis post procedure 0.14%, laryngospasm 0.1% and bradycardia 0.1%. There are many confounding variables that influence the likelihood of these events: adjunct opiates, propofol dosing strategies and supplemental oxygen. These rates of minor adverse events are similar to that published for ED sedation with other sedation agents

There were no reported incidents of aspiration or emesis during sedation and there were no deaths associated with procedural propofol sedation. The authors conclude: “the published adverse event data for paediatric propofol sedation support its ongoing use in the ED for appropriately selected paediatric patients by experienced physicians who are able to provide advanced cardiorespiratory support.
Review article: Safety profile of propofol for paediatric procedural sedation in the emergency department
Emerg Med Australas. 2010 Aug;22(4):265-86

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