Propofol for Procedural Sedation in Children in the Emergency Department

Kathlene E. Bassett, Jana L. Anderson, Charles G. Pribble, Elisabeth Guenther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


Study objective: We determine the safety and efficacy of propofol sedation for painful procedures in the emergency department (ED). Methods: A consecutive case series of propofol sedations for painful procedures in the ED of a tertiary care pediatric hospital from July 2000 to July 2002 was performed. A sedation protocol was followed. Propofol was administered in a bolus of 1 mg/kg, followed by additional doses of 0.5 mg/kg. Narcotics were administered 1 minute before propofol administration. Adverse events were documented, as were the sedation duration, recovery time from sedation, and total time in the ED. Results: Three hundred ninety-three discrete sedation events with propofol were analyzed. Procedures consisted of the following: fracture reductions (94%), reduction of joint dislocations (4%), spica cast placement (2%), and ocular examination after an ocular burn (0.3%). The median propofol dose was 2.7 mg/kg. Ninety-two percent of patients had a transient (≤2 minutes) decrease in systolic blood pressure without clinical signs of poor perfusion. Nineteen (5%) patients had hypoxia, 11 (3%) patients required airway repositioning or jaw-thrust maneuvers, and 3 (0.8%) patients required bag-valve-mask ventilation. No patient required endotracheal intubation. Conclusion: Propofol sedation is efficacious and can be used safely in the ED setting under the guidance of a protocol. Transient cardiopulmonary depression occurs, which requires vigilant monitoring by highly skilled practitioners. Propofol is well suited for short, painful procedures in the ED setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-782
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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