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Sedation for children requiring wound repair: a randomised controlled double blind comparison of oral midazolam and oral ketamine
  1. Paul A Younge1,
  2. Jason M Kendall2
  1. 1Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Bristol Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Bristol
  2. 2Emergency Department, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Younge, 30 Burghley Road, Bristol BS6 5BN (sueandpaul{at}


Objective—To compare the efficacy of oral ketamine (10 mg/kg) with oral midazolam (0.7 mg/kg) in providing sedation for suturing of lacerations.

Method—Prospective, randomised, double blinded trial with consecutive, concealed recruitment of 59 children aged 1 to 7 with wounds requiring local anaesthetic (LA) injection or topical LA with an anxiety score greater than one.

Results—Tolerance to LA injection was better with ketamine (p=0.029) and tolerance to procedure after LA injection showed a trend towards being improved with ketamine (p=0.067). There was no difference in tolerance to LA application or procedure in children receiving topical LA. Time to reach a sedation score of less than four was faster with ketamine (medians 20 versus 43 minutes, p=0.001) but times from dosing to discharge (medians 105 and 110 minutes) were similar. Inconsolable agitation was reported with midazolam in six cases. Dysphoria was not noted with ketamine. Vomiting was more common with ketamine but not significantly so (six versus two, p = 0.14). Oxygen desaturations were noted in both groups. Ataxia after discharge was seen in four patients, two in each group. Thirty six per cent of children showed new behavioural disturbances in the two weeks after discharge, more commonly in the midazolam group (p=0.048).

Conclusions—At these doses tolerance to LA injection was better in children receiving ketamine, with fewer behavioural changes noted in the first two weeks. Midazolam at this dose caused dysphoric reactions, which may have affected the results. Continuous pulse oximetry monitoring is required when using these drugs. Vomiting and prolonged ataxia occurred in a few patients.

  • suturing
  • children
  • ketamine
  • midazolam

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.