OBJECTIVES: Intranasal, intramuscular, and intravenous (IV) dexmedetomidine routes have been used successfully for pediatric MRI studies. We designed this retrospective study to determine efficacy and safety of buccal dexmedetomidine for pediatric MRI sedation.
METHODS: Medical records were reviewed of outpatient children ages 5 to 18 years who received buccal dexmedetomidine with or without oral midazolam for MRI sedation at a freestanding children’s hospital sedation program in 2015 and 2016.
RESULTS: A total of 220 outpatient encounters received buccal dexmedetomidine for MRI. Mean age of the cohort was 10.1 ± 2.6 years (range: 5–18.7). Buccal dexmedetomidine dose administered was a mean of 2.20 ± 0.38 μg/kg (range: 0.88–3.19). Of the 220 sedation encounters, 179 (81.4%) patients had satisfactory sedation with buccal dexmedetomidine with or without oral midazolam: 84 had buccal dexmedetomidine as the sole sedative, 95 had satisfactory sedation when buccal dexmedetomidine and oral midazolam (mean: 0.33 ± 0.07 mg/kg; range: 0.21–0.53) were given together, 1 (0.4%) had satisfactory sedation when intranasal fentanyl and midazolam were administered in addition to buccal dexmedetomidine, and 35 (15.9%) required IV sedatives to achieve satisfactory sedation. All patients completed their MRI successfully except 5 (2.2%): 2 encounters were sedation failures, 2 IV sedations developed severe upper airway obstruction, and 1 IV sedation experienced MRI contrast anaphylaxis.
CONCLUSIONS: In a selected population of pediatric patients, buccal dexmedetomidine with or without midazolam provides adequate sedation for most MRI studies with few adverse effects, but given a failure rate of almost 20%, modifications to buccal dexmedetomidine dosing should be investigated.