J Pediatr Intensive Care 2017; 06(02): 117-122
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1584683
Original Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Dexmedetomidine versus Propofol: Is One Better Than the Other for MRI Sedation in Children?

Sheikh S. Ahmed
1   Section of Pediatric Critical Care, Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Tamara L. Unland
2   Pediatric Procedural Sedation, IU Health North Hospital, Carmel, Indiana, United States
James E. Slaven
3   Department of Biostatistics Indiana University, School of Medicine Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Mara E. Nitu
1   Section of Pediatric Critical Care, Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

01 December 2015

27 April 2016

Publication Date:
24 June 2016 (online)


Objective The aim of this article is to determine whether dexmedetomidine or propofol is better for MRI sedation in children.

Design This study is a retrospective review of patients sedated with dexmedetomidine or propofol for MRI between July 2007 and July 2015. Dexmedetomidine group (group D) was administered a bolus of 2 µg/kg over 10 minutes followed by a 1 ug/kg/hour infusion. Propofol group (group P) received a bolus of 2 mg/kg over 2 minutes followed by 83 µg/kg/minute infusion.

Results Of the 996 cases completed, 452 were in group P and 544 were in group D. Patients in group P were heavier and older than those in group D. All the patients except one in group D completed the procedures. Hypotension occurred in 59% in group P versus 4% in group D (89 ± 11.4 SBP vs. 103.80 ± 19.4; p < 0.05). Bradycardia was observed in 2.9% in group P versus 0.6% in group D. Apnea occurred in two patients in group D. Although procedure time was longer in patients receiving propofol versus dexmedetomidine (58.87 ± 28.17 vs. 45 ± 23.6; p < .05), the discharge time was significantly shorter (37. ± 12.30 vs. 92.61 ± 28.19; p < 0.05).

Conclusion Dexmedetomidine appears to provide a useful alternative to propofol for MRI sedation with a longer recovery time, stable hemodynamics, and less reliable respiratory profile, while the propofol had the advantage of quicker onset and rapid recovery.

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