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Effect of paralytic type on time to post-intubation sedative use in the emergency department
  1. John M Watt1,
  2. Albert Amini1,
  3. Brittany R Traylor2,
  4. Richard Amini3,
  5. John C Sakles3,
  6. Asad E Patanwala2
  1. 1Department of Surgery College of Medicine, University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona, USA
  2. 2Department of Pharmacy Practice & Science, College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  3. 3Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  1. Correspondence to  Dr Asad E Patanwala,  1295 N. Martin, PO Box 210202, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA; patanwala{at}


Objective To determine the difference between rocuronium and succinylcholine with regard to post-intubation sedative initiation in the emergency department.

Methds This was a retrospective cohort study conducted in a tertiary care emergency department (ED) in the USA. Consecutive adult patients intubated in the ED using succinylcholine or rocuronium for paralysis were included. Data collected included patient demographics, vital signs, medications used post-intubation and times of drug administration. Patients were divided into two groups based on the type of paralytic used for rapid sequence intubation: (1) rocuronium or (2) succinylcholine. All patients received etomidate for induction of sedation. Time between intubation and post-intubation sedative use was compared between the two groups using an unpaired Student's t test.

Main results A total of 200 patients were included in the final analyses (100 patients in each group). There were no significant differences between the groups with regard to patient demographics, vital signs or other baseline characteristics. After intubation, 77.5% (n=155) of patients were initiated on a sedative infusion of propofol (n=148) or midazolam (n=7). The remaining patients received sedation as bolus doses only. Mean time between intubation and post-intubation sedative use was significantly greater in the rocuronium group compared with the succinylcholine group (27 min vs 15 min, respectively; p<0.001).

Conclusions Patients intubated with rocuronium had greater delays in post-intubation sedative initiation compared with succinylcholine.

  • anaesthesia - rsi

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