Background: Adequate premedication before neonatal endotracheal intubation reduces pain, stress, and adverse physiological responses, diminishes duration and number of attempts at intubation, and prevents traumatic airway injury. Therefore, intubation should not be started until an adequate level of sedation is reached. It is not clear how this should be measured in the clinical situation. Objectives: The aim of this study is to provide a systematic review of the usability and validity of scoring systems or other objective parameters to evaluate the level of sedation before intubation in neonates. Secondary aims were to describe parameters that are used to determine the level of sedation and criteria on which the decision to proceed with intubation is based. Methods: Literature was searched (January 2017) in the following electronic databases: Embase, Medline, Web of Science, Cochrane Central Registrar of Controlled Trials, Pubmed Publisher, and Google Scholar. Results: From 1653 hits, 20 studies were finally included in the systematic review. In 7 studies, intubation was started after a predefined time period; in 1 study, preoxygenation was the criterion to start with intubation; and in 12 studies, intubation was started in case of adequate sedation and/or relaxation. Only 4 studies described the use of 3 different objective scoring system, all in the neonatal intensive care unit, which are not validated. Conclusion: No validated scoring systems to assess the level of sedation prior to intubation in newborns are available in the literature. Three objective sedation assessment tools seem promising but need further validation before they can be implemented in research and clinical settings.

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Paediatric Anaesthesia

de Kort, E., Halbmeijer, N., Reiss, I., & Simons, S. (2018). Assessment of sedation level prior to neonatal intubation: A systematic review. Paediatric Anaesthesia (Vol. 28, pp. 28–36). doi:10.1111/pan.13285