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Premedication for neonatal intubation in Australia and New Zealand: A survey of current practice


  • Conflict of interest: None declared.

Dr Ben Wheeler, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand. Fax: +64 3474 7817; email:


Aim:  This study aims to describe the current approach to intubation premedication in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Australia and New Zealand

Methods:  A literature review regarding intubation premedication in the newborn was carried out to inform questionnaire design. A web-based survey of 28 NICUs and two neonatal emergency transport services was conducted and supplemented by telephone contact to ensure completion.

Results:  All the tertiary NICUs and neonatal emergency transport services in Australia and New Zealand use premedication for elective intubation of neonates. Eighty per cent of units have a written policy. There were 28 of 30 units (93%) that use muscle relaxants, mostly suxamethonium. The choice of sedative medication is varied.

Conclusions:  Australian and New Zealand neonatal units have a high use of intubation premedication including muscle relaxants, but vary considerably in their choice of sedative medication.