Emergence agitation (EA) is an adverse complication during early recovery from sevoflurane anesthesia. Continuous intravenous infusion of dexmedetomidine (DEX) is commonly used for EA prevention. However, a wide dose range is used for preventing EA, and the optimal dose remains unknown. This study was aimed at determining the optimal dose (the 90% effective dose [ED90]) of DEX for continuous intraoperative infusion for EA prevention in children.
We enrolled children aged 3 to 7 years who underwent dental treatment under sevoflurane anesthesia. DEX was continuously infused from the time of the establishment of the intravenous access until 5 minutes before the end of surgery. The initial DEX dose was 0.5 µg/kg/h, and subsequent dose adjustments were determined based on the response of the previous patient by using an up-down sequential allocation with a biased-coin design. The primary outcome was the ED90 for continuous DEX infusion based on the success or failure of the EA-preventing dose.
Forty-five patients were enrolled in the study. The DEX dose ranged from 0.50 to 0.90 µg/kg/h. The estimated ED90 (95% confidence interval [CI]) for preventing EA was 0.74 µg/kg/h (0.67–1.05 µg/kg/h). The duration of surgery (mean ± standard deviation [SD]) was 113 ± 30 minutes. The times (mean ± SD) for extubation, time to emergence, and recovery time were 5 ± 2 minutes, 27 ± 9 minutes, and 39 ± 7 minutes, respectively.
The ED90 for continuous intraoperative DEX infusion for EA prevention in pediatric patients receiving dental treatment under sevoflurane anesthesia was 0.74 µg/kg/h (95% CI, 0.67–1.05 µg/kg/h).