Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 94:F439-F442 doi:10.1136/adc.2008.146068
  • Original article

Atropine, fentanyl and succinylcholine for non-urgent intubations in newborns

  1. B Lemyre1,
  2. R Cheng2,
  3. I Gaboury3
  1. 1
    University of Ottawa, Canada
  2. 2
    Department of Neonatology, Nanjing Children’s Hospital, Jiangsu Province, China
  3. 3
    Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr B Lemyre, Division of Neonatology, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, 401, Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8L1; blemyre{at}
  • Accepted 7 March 2009
  • Published Online First 22 March 2009


Objective: Describe intubation conditions and adverse events when using atropine fentanyl +/− succinylcholine as premedication.

Design: Prospective observational study, as part of a quality improvement initiative.

Setting: Two level 3 neonatal intensive care units in Ottawa, Canada

Patients: 60 infants, median 27 weeks gestation, 1023 g at birth were included.

Interventions: Infants received atropine, fentanyl +/− succinylcholine prior to the intubation. Succinylcholine was given for all infants ⩾34 weeks and at the discretion of the physician for those <34 weeks.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was the number of attempts. Secondary outcomes were number of attempts and intubation conditions in infants who received and those who did not receive succinylcholine and safety.

Results: The median number of attempts was 2. 91.7% had excellent or good conditions. The median number of attempts for infants who received succinylcholine was lower (1 vs 2) than those who did not. No serious adverse events were noted. 2 cases of difficult bag and mask ventilation after administration of fentanyl were noted.

Conclusion: Atropine, fentanyl and succinylcholine before non-urgent intubations in newborns has led to a low number of attempts and good intubation conditions with no adverse events.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the Research Ethics Committees of The Ottawa Hospital and The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Canada.

  • Provenance and Peer review Not Commissioned Externally Peer Reviewed.

Latest from Education & Practice

Latest from Education & Practice

Register for free content

Free sample
This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of ADC Fetal & Neonatal.
View free sample issue >>

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the articles as they are published.

Navigate This Article