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Pediatric sedation trends examined

The first large-scale study of pediatric sedation examines the major trends in outpatient procedural sedation.

In recent years, pediatric health care has begun to focus on when and how children are given sedation. A new study in Pediatrics takes a look at the significant trends of outpatient procedural sedation.1

Investigators used the Pediatric Sedation Research Consortium to collect data from 2007 to 2018 that included interventions, serious adverse events, medications, patient characteristics, and types of providers. They identified 432,842 sedation encounters and divided them into 3 4-year epochs (2007-2011, 2011-2014, and 2014-2018).

They found that there was a significant decrease in procedural sedation being used in infants aged younger than 3 months. Pediatric hospitalists showed a large increase in using procedural sedation, but there was a decreasing trend found among other providers who were not in critical care, anesthesiology, or emergency medicine. Chloral hydrate and pentobarbital both had decreasing trends of use and dexmedetomidine was used more frequently over the same period. There was a nonsignificant increase in serious adverse events over the period.

The researchers said that further studies are needed to look at whether sedation services lead to decreases in cost and help optimize resource use.


1.    Kamat PP, McCracken CE, Simon HK, et al. Trends in outpatient procedural sedation: 2007-2018. Pediatrics. 2020;145(5):e20193559. doi: 10.1542/peds.2019-3559