Preoperative sedation in pediatric patients with sleep-disordered breathing

Anthony Cultrara, Garrett H. Bennett, Craig Lazar, Joseph Bernstein, Nira Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: Based on a few reports that describe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients as having an increased risk of acute upper airway obstruction (UAO) after pharmacological sedation, this population is less likely to receive sedation prior to surgery. Our objective was to evaluate pediatric patients with sleep-disordered breathing who received preoperative sedation to determine if there was an increase in preoperative airway obstruction. Design: Retrospective chart review from 1995 to 2000. Setting: Two tertiary care academic medical centers. Patients: Sixty-five children (mean age=4.7±2.3 years; 49 boys, 16 girls) diagnosed with sleep-disordered breathing by sleep study or clinical evaluation that received preoperative midazolam hydrochloride. Outcome measure: The occurrence of preoperative adverse events defined as UAO, hypoventilation, desaturation, bradycardia, or sustained lethargy that required active intervention after the administration of midazolam hydrochloride within 24 h of surgery. Results: None of the 65 children evaluated in this study experienced respiratory compromise requiring intervention after the administration of preoperative sedation. Potential risk factors such as patients' age, sex, weight, comorbidities, midazolam hydrochloride dose, and severity of sleep apnea did not appear to affect outcome. Conclusion: The preliminary data suggested that preoperative sedation might be safely administered to children with mild or moderate sleep-disordered breathing, and possibly to children with severe OSA, if children are closely observed prior to surgery. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm these results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-246
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenotonsillectomy
  • Midazolam hydrochloride
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Sedation
  • Sleep-disordered breathing


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