J Korean Med Sci.  2021 Aug;36(33):e213. 10.3346/jkms.2021.36.e213.

Pediatric Sedation in the Emergency Department: Trends from a Nationwide Population-based Study in Korea, 2007–2018

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Pediatric sedation in the emergency department (ED) is widely performed in Korea; thus exploring the trends of its use is necessary. This study aimed to investigate the characteristics of patients and sedatives use in the ED and verify their changes over recent years.
A nationwide population-based retrospective study was conducted including pediatric patients aged ≤ 15 years who received sedative medication in the ED and were discharged during 2007–2018, using the Korean Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service database. Patient characteristics (age, sex, level of ED, and diagnosis) and type of sedative used were analyzed.
Sedation was performed in total 468,221 visits during 2007–2018 (399,320 visits, at least 3.8% of overall ED visits during 2009–2018). Among these, 71.0% were children aged 1–3 years and 93.5% were sedated to support diagnosis of injury. An increase in total sedation was observed in patients aged 4–6 years during the study period (from 13.8% to 21.8%). A gradual decrease in the use of chloral hydrate (CH) compared with an increase in ketamine use was observed (CH, from 70.6% to 28.6%; ketamine, from 23.8% to 60.7%). Therefore, ketamine was the most used sedative since 2014. The most frequently used sedatives over the study period differed according to age groups (CH in <1 year and 1–3 years; ketamine in 4–6 years and 7–10 years; and midazolam in 11–15 years).
The characteristics of patients related to sedatives use in the ED have changed over time. These changes should be considered in the development of future Korean guidelines regarding pediatric sedation in the ED.


Child; Chloral Hydrate; Conscious Sedation; Emergency Service; Hospital; Ketamine
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