DOI: 10.1111/petr.14660 ISSN: 1397-3142

Trends in sedation‐analgesia practices in pediatric liver transplant patients admitted postoperatively to the pediatric intensive care unit: An analysis of data from the pediatric health information system (PHIS) database

Matthew Goldstein, Andrew Jergel, Saul Karpen, Zhulin He, Thomas M. Austin, Matt Hall, Akash Deep, Laura Gilbertson, Pradip Kamat
  • Transplantation
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health



Children admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), after liver transplantation, frequently require analgesia and sedation in the immediate postoperative period. Our objective was to assess trends and variations in sedation and analgesia used in this cohort.


Multicenter retrospective cohort study using the Pediatric Health Information System from 2012 to 2022.


During the study period, 3963 patients with liver transplantation were admitted to the PICU from 32 US children's hospitals with a median age of 2 years [IQR: 0.00, 10.00]. 54 percent of patients received mechanical ventilation (MV). Compared with patients without MV, those with MV were more likely to receive morphine (57% vs 49%, p < .001), fentanyl (57% vs 44%), midazolam (45% vs 31%), lorazepam (39% vs. 24%), dexmedetomidine (38% vs 30%), and ketamine (25% vs 12%), all p < .001. Vasopressor usage was also higher in MV patients (22% vs. 35%, p < .001). During the study period, there was an increasing trend in the utilization of dexmedetomidine and ketamine, but the use of benzodiazepine decreased (p < .001).


About 50% of patients who undergo liver transplant are placed on MV in the PICU postoperatively and receive a greater amount of benzodiazepines in comparison with those without MV. The overall utilization of dexmedetomidine and ketamine was more frequent, whereas the administration of benzodiazepines was less during the study period. Pediatric intensivists have a distinctive opportunity to collaborate with the liver transplant team to develop comprehensive guidelines for sedation and analgesia, aimed at enhancing the quality of care provided to these patients.

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