Nitrous oxide-oxygen inhalation for outpatient otologic examination and minor procedures performed on the uncooperative child

Gadi Fishman*, Eyal Botzer, Nisim Marouani, Ari Derowe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Otomicroscopic examination with suctioning of ears or other procedures is frequently uncomfortable especially for children. Anxiety and pain with lack of cooperation may result in trauma to the ear, incompletion of the examination, delayed diagnosis and treatment and need for completion of the examination under general anesthesia. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of utilizing nitrous oxide-oxygen inhalation for sedation and analgesia in otologic examination and minor surgical procedures performed on the uncooperative child at the outpatient clinic. Methods: In a prospective pilot case series study conducted at the Pediatric Otolaryngology outpatient clinic of a tertiary medical center, nitrous oxide-oxygen inhalation was administered by the examining otolaryngologist and the assisting nurse. The study group included children over 2 years old, for which an accurate diagnosis of ear pathology could not be made or a minor surgical procedure could not be tolerated because of anxiety and lack of cooperation. Results: Completion of the indicated procedure was successful in 21 of 24 patients (88%). Full cooperation, where no restraint was necessary was achieved in 20 of 24 patients (83%). The mean rank pain scores, evaluated separately by the patient, parent and staff, were in the mild pain range using a 0-10 coding for Faces Pain Rating Scale. The mean procedure time was 8.9 min. An adverse reaction, vomiting, occurred in one patient. Twenty-one of 24 parents stated that they would repeat the procedure if necessary. Conclusion: This pilot study shows the potential usefulness of nitrous oxide-oxygen inhalation administered by an otolaryngologist in the outpatient clinic. Alleviation of pain and anxiety and avoiding the need for physical restraint is an important goal that can be achieved with this form of sedation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-504
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Nitrous oxide-oxygen inhalation
  • Pediatric otolaryngology outpatient clinic
  • Uncooperative child


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