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Procedural sedation and its place in paediatric emergency medicine
  1. Baruch S Krauss1,
  2. Steven M Green2
  1. 1Division of Emergency Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Loma Linda University Medical Center & Children's Hospital, Loma Linda, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Steven M Green, Department of Emergency Medicine, Loma Linda University Medical Center & Children's Hospital, A-108, 11234 Anderson Street, Loma Linda, CA 92354, USA; Steve{at}

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Procedural sedation is an integral part of emergency medicine (EM) practice in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. These countries have produced a large, robust literature supporting the safe and efficacious use of ketamine, propofol and other ED sedation agents for managing procedural pain and anxiety.1–3 In the UK and Ireland, EM and paediatric EM practitioners are striving to similarly establish procedural sedation as a fundamental part of their practice. McCoy et al describe, through a structured interview session with a group of EM consultants, the current issues impacting procedural sedation in the UK and the barriers to its adoption. Many of these same challenges and impediments were encountered in North America and Australia/New Zealand, and the lessons learned may be applicable and helpful in the UK and Ireland.4 As veterans of these challenges, here is our perspective.

Focus on the patient

The capability of paediatric emergency physicians to administer timely procedural sedation directly benefits patients and their families by providing a safe, effective and efficient outpatient way of managing procedural pain and anxiety. Emergency physicians from North America, Australia and New Zealand reading the McCoy et al report will be surprised by the acceptance of hospitalisation as standard practice for management of simple forearm fractures in children, especially in the UK where EM is an established specialty. Such an approach transforms a brief ED procedure and a 30–90 min recovery into an overnight bed, an admitting paediatrician, a theatre room and an anaesthetist. Instead of promptly returning to the comforts of home, …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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