Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Institute Researcher: Propofol Has Low Risk in Pediatric Imaging Research Studies, but Risk Increases with Duration

Dr. Zena Quezado, director of the Pain Neurobiology Laboratory at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, has published a study showing that propofol, a well-known anesthesia medication, has a low occurrence of adverse events for children undergoing research-driven imaging studies. The findings indicated a low incidence of adverse events and no long-term complications when propofol was used to sedate children for imaging studies that require them to be still for long periods of time.

However, propofol does show an increased risk for respiratory, cardiovascular, and other side effects if anesthesia is administered over a long period of time or if the child has other complicating factors, including some systemic disease or an airway abnormality. It is also the first imaging study to show an increase in risk to the child with each 30-minute increment a child was under anesthesia.

“Getting a child to remain still in an uncomfortable environment during a medical imaging procedure, such an MRI or CT scan, where bodily movement undermines the procedure’s quality, is a near impossible task, which is why anesthesia is commonly used,” Dr. Quezado said. “We know that propofol can be safely administered in pediatric research studies by well-trained anesthesiologists who are prepared to anticipate and respond to all events, which minimizes the risk of adverse issues. We are applying the findings of this research immediately in our own work, and will help others ensure that every study involving children is safe, ethical and effective.”

The study appeared in the June 7 issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Read more.