BACKGROUND: Sugammadex, with its novel mechanism of action of encapsulation and noncompetitive binding of aminosteroid neuromuscular-blocking agents (rocuronium and vecuronium), may offer distinct advantage to pediatric patients where residual neuromuscular blockade may be poorly tolerated. Data describing its use in the pediatric population are limited, and no large-scale studies are available evaluating the occurrence of adverse event across the full spectrum of ages. We sought to measure the occurrence of adverse events, assess the severity and clinical significance of the events, and quantify a surrogate measure of efficacy of sugammadex compared to neostigmine in a large population and in the full age range of children.
METHODS: Beginning in September 2016 through initiation of data collection, we identified from our data warehouse that all patients were treated with sugammadex for reversal of neuromuscular blockade, from birth through adolescence, and retrospectively matched, by case type and age group, to historical neostigmine-treated controls. From subsequent chart review, we quantified occurrence of adverse events and administration of medications to treat adverse events. All cases in the originally identified cohort treated with epinephrine after administration of sugammadex underwent chart review to elicit the cause, in the event that an infrequently occurring event was not captured after the case-matching process. “End-Interval Time,” the time from administration of reversal agent to time out of the procedure room, was measured as an indirect assessment of efficacy.
RESULTS: Fewer cases of bradycardia were observed in the sugammadex group compared to the neostigmine group in the overall cohort (P < .001) and in the subgroups of older children (P < .001) and adolescents (P < .001). End-interval time, the time measured from administration of neuromuscular blockade (NMB) reversal agent to time out of the operating room, was significantly shorter in sugammadex-treated groups in the overall cohort (mean difference, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.85–3.77; P < .001) and all age groups except for first year (31 days through 12 months). This observation was most pronounced in the neonatal subgroup (mean difference, 11.94 minutes; 95% CI, 4.79–19.1; P < .001). No other adverse events measured were found to be different between treatment groups.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides data supporting the safe and effective use of sugammadex for reversal of neuromuscular blockade throughout the entire range of ages in the pediatric population. Within age groups, sugammadex demonstrates faster completion of operation compared with neostigmine, with the greatest difference observed in the neonatal population.