Comparison of methohexital and pentobarbital as sedative agents for pediatric emergency department patients for computed tomography

Thomas H. Chun, Siraj Amanullah, Dolly Karishma-Bahl, Jason T. MacHan, Emily R Andrada-Brown, William J. Lewander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine if there are differences in the duration of sedation between pediatric emergency department (PED) patients receiving methohexital and PED patients receiving pentobarbital for the purpose of obtaining a head computed tomographic (CT) scan. Methods: Retrospective cohort study of PED patients receiving either methohexital or pentobarbital for a sedated head CT. Data were collected on patient demographics and medical condition, indications for head CT, duration of sedation, medication dosage, and medication adverse events. Primary analyses investigated whether there were differences between the 2 groups. Secondary analysis determined whether the need for additional sedative doses contributed to observed differences between groups. Results: The patients receiving methohexital completed their head CT more quickly and needed less total sedation monitoring than those receiving pentobarbital. The need for additional doses of medication does not appear to be responsible for the observed difference. Adverse medication events were minor and comparable between groups. Conclusions: Methohexital may be superior to pentobarbital for the purpose of sedating PED patients for head CT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-650
Number of pages3
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009



  • CT
  • Methohexital
  • Pentobarbital
  • Sedation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine

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