The primary aim of this review was to assess the effect of pharmacological agents administered to attenuate the haemodynamic response to tracheal intubation in paediatric patients up to 16 years of age undergoing elective surgery. Secondary aims were to identify adverse effects related to these agents, and the agents' roles in decreasing arrhythmias. A systematic search was conducted for articles listed in PubMed, CINAHL or the Cochrane database between January 1980 and June 2014. We included randomised controlled trials where the stated aim of the study included observing the effects of pharmacological agents on the haemodynamic response to tracheal intubation. The outcome measures were changes in mean, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate, adverse effects of drugs and arrhythmias. Sixteen publications with a total of 1408 children (ages two to 15 years) were identified. These studies varied in methodology and quality. Opioids were the commonest agents used and appeared to obtund the response in a dose-related manner. Fentanyl 2 μg/kg, remifentanil 1 μg/kg, sufentanil 0.1 and 0.2 μg/kg and alfentanil 25 μg/kg blunted the haemodynamic response. Remifentanil 3 μg/kg and sufentanil 0.3 μg/kg were the most effective in obliterating the response but led to hypotension in unstimulated patients. Opioid-related side-effects and arrhythmias were observed in few patients. We recommend that when required, the safe and effective doses identified in this review be used to obtund the haemodynamic response to intubation in paediatric patients, with close observation for the uncommon but recognised side-effects.
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate