Research Summary

Pediatric Anesthesia Use for CT, MRI Decreases Nationally

Jessica Ganga

The use of sedation/anesthesia for computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in pediatric patients undergoing emergency care has decreased over an 11-year period, nationally, according to a recent research letter published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Hayatghaibi and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study using data from the Pediatric Health Information System from January 2012 to March 2022. They studied data from children younger than 18 years who underwent MRI and/or CT and were discharged from the emergency department (ED). Their primary outcome for the study was “the proportion of CT and MRI examinations performed with anesthesia/sedation.”

In total, 619,892 encounters with MRI or CT involving 559,604 children were included in the study’s analysis. Of the total, 13.2% of encounters included sedation/anesthesia. The researchers found that the proportion of sedation/anesthesia decreased from 13.1% in 2012 to 12.1% in 2022. Further, children who underwent MRI or another type of imaging had greater odds of receiving sedation/anesthesia when compared with those who underwent CT.

“Continued improvement in imaging techniques and development of clinical practice guidelines may further reduce the frequency and variation in sedation/anesthesia use for CT and MRI examinations,” the researchers concluded.



Hayatghaibi SE, Kandil AI, Zhang B, et al. Trends in anesthesia/sedation for computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging encounters in pediatric emergency departments, 2012-2022. JAMA Pediatr. 2023;177(10):1105-1107. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2023.2832