Effectiveness of 50% nitrous oxide/50% oxygen during laceration repair in children

John H. Burton*, Thomas E. Auble, Susan M. Fuchs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the effect of an inhaled 50% nitrous oxide/50% oxygen mixture on measles of observed anxiety in children during laceration repair. Methods: A prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind comparison of an inhaled 50% ritrous oxide/50% oxygen mixture (treatment group) with 100% oxygen (control group) during repair of lacerations was performed. The study population was a convenience sample of children aged 2- 7 years in an urban pediatric ED. The primary outcome variable was the change in scores before and during laceration repair with a 10-point modified Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Pain Scale (CHEOPS) assessment. The secondary outcome variable was a 4-point anxiety scale measured before and during the procedure. Results: Thirty patients were entered into the study. Seventeen children inhaled the 50% nitrous oxide/oxygen mixture and 13 inhaled 100% oxygen during laceration repair. There was no statistically significant difference in initial CHEOPS and anxiety scores between the 2 groups (p = 0.687 and 0.809, respectively). The median CHEOPS scores in the treatment group decreased by 5 points, while those of the control patients increased by 3 (p <0.001). The median anxiety scores in the treatment population decreased by 1 point, with an increase of 1 for the control patients (p <0.001). Conclusion: Administration of a 50% nitrous oxide/50% oxygen mixture to children during their laceration repair resulted in a significant decrease in measures of anxiety when compared with inhalation of 100% oxygen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-117
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998


  • Analgesia
  • Anxiety
  • Emergency department
  • Laceration wound
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Pediatric sedation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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