Emerg Med J 23:684-686 doi:10.1136/emj.2006.035220
  • Original Article

Sedation practice in a Scottish teaching hospital emergency department

  1. R A Duncan1,
  2. L Symington2,
  3. S Thakore3
  1. 1Accident and Emergency, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, DD1 9SY, UK
  2. 2Emergency Medicine, Fife Acute Hospitals, Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, KY12 0SU, UK
  3. 3Accident and Emergency, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, DD1 9SY, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Russell A Duncan
 Accident and Emergency, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, DD1 9SY, UK;russell.a.duncan{at}
  • Accepted 1 June 2006


Objectives: To conduct a prospective survey in a teaching hospital emergency department to evaluate performance according to safe sedation principles, to establish the demographics of those sedated, and to review the drugs used and doses given to patients in the department. Any adverse events were reviewed for identification of preventable causes.

Methods: Pre-sedation checklists, peri-procedural observations, and patient notes were reviewed for 101 cases from 4 December 2004 to 3 September 2005. There are departmental guidelines outlining the principles of safe sedation.

Results: Emergency department procedural sedation was performed for a variety of acute conditions in patients aged from 7 to 91 years old. A variety of sedation agents were administered, morphine and midazolam being used most frequently. Drug administration, maximum sedation level, and time to recovery and discharge were recorded. Four adverse events were reported, none of which were clinically significant. Departmental guidelines were followed.

Conclusion: Emergency department sedation is a safe and effective procedure if appropriately trained practitioners follow the principles of safe sedation.


  • Competing interests: none declared

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