the highs & lows of nitrous oxide
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DESCRIPTIONThe Highs & Lows of Nitrous Oxide. A Multidisciplinary Reflection Shannon Rivers, BS, CCLS II Leslie Mellin , RN, BSN. Objectives. Understand the history and best use practices for Nitrous Oxide Review the process of starting a new Nitrous Oxide program - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
The Highs & Lows of Nitrous Oxide
A Multidisciplinary Reflection
Shannon Rivers, BS, CCLS IILeslie Mellin, RN, BSN
• Understand the history and best use practices for Nitrous Oxide
• Review the process of starting a new Nitrous Oxide program
• Discuss different Child Life techniques to use during Nitrous Oxide sedation
• Open discussion
History of Nitrous Oxide N2O2•Discovered in the late 1700’s and used for recreation purposes and side show exhibitions.
•In 1844, Dr. Gardner Colton hosted an exhibition to demonstrate the “exhilarating” effects of inhaling N2O2. Horace Wells, a dentist, witnessed a participant receive this gas. The volunteer started euphorically jumping around and in the process injured his leg by creating a deep bloody laceration. The volunteer displayed no evidence of pain. This resulted in Horace Wells experimenting with the properties of N2O2 in his dental practice for tooth extractions. And so the start of Nitrous Oxide analgesic and sedation properties start.
Nitrous Oxide Distribution Properties
•N2O2 is a sweet smelling, colorless gas.
•At room temperature it is a gas; however, when compressed into a cylinder, it becomes a liquid.
•Frost may be seen on the tank surface during prolonged and continuous use.
•N2O2 is quickly eliminated in the lungs.
•Monitor with minimum of pulse oximeter and increase as provider deems necessary.
Desirable Characteristics of Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen Sedation
•Analgesic properties (pain control)• It has been reported that a mixture of 20% N2O2/80% O2 is
equivalent to 15mg of morphine.•Anxiolytic properties (sedative effects) • N2O2/O2 sedation has been shown to facilitate positive
behavior and lowered anxiety levels on sequential visits in pediatric patients.
•Amnesic properties• Diminishes recall of severity of pain or duration of procedure.
•Onset of Action• Clinical effects begin within 30 seconds, peak effects within 5
•Titration• Allows the exact amount of the drug to be administered to
each individual patient.•Recovery• After breathing approximately 2 minutes of pure oxygen at
the completion of N2O2 administration, the effects of the gas will be dissipated
•Elimination• Approximately 99% is excreted unchanged via the lungs. It
is 99% eliminated from the body within 5-10 minutes after discontinuation. Approx. 1% is excreted over 24hrs via the skin and lungs.
Desirable Characteristics, cont
Nitrous Oxide Oral/IV Sedation
Rapid Onset in less than 30 seconds Onset is from 1-10 minutes
Ability to titrate to desired effect Inability to easily titrate
Minimal side effects Risk of aspiration, respiratory depression, hypoxia, hypotension
Able to provide analgesic properties No analgesic properties
Painless administration IV administration requires painful injection
Not metabolized Metabolized by the liver
Rapid recovery in 5-10 minutes Recovery time in 30-60+ minutes
Contraindications and Adverse Effects
•N2O2 diffuses rapidly into air-filled cavities causing expansion of those spaces. Therefore, N2O2/O2 should not be used in patients with pneumothorax, intestinal obstruction, middle ear occlusion, maxillofacial injuries, post intraocular surgery(w/in 10wks), craniotomy(w/in 3wks), increased ICP, and CF.
•N2O2 should also not be used on patients with B12 deficiency, COPD, bleomyocin therapy, impaired level of consciousness, and first trimester of pregnancy.
•Health care workers who are pregnant should not be in room during administration.
Potential Nitrous Oxide Procedures
•IV start, PICC insertions, lab draw (promotes vasodilation)•Botox injections•VCUG•Echocardiogram•EEG, LTM hook-up•I&D, dressing change and wound debridement•Eye exams•NG tube placement, pH probe placement•US•Injections-IM,SQ or port access•Sutures•Closed reductions (with pain meds, i.e. Fentanyl) •Foreign body removal (ears, nose)•Minor surgical procedures
Sedation Levels and Side Effects•The American society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Associates consider Nitrous Oxide sedation <50% minimal sedation (can be RN administered) • Anything over 50% must be MD admisitered
•Titration is key to maintain a relaxed and therapeutic level
•Patient may experience: • Tingling in extremities and/or near mouth, heaviness in legs
and arms, body warmth, light feeling, flushed in face and neck, circumoral numbness, relaxed happy feelings and giddiness.
Tips for Successful Nitrous Oxide Administration
•Always combine nitrous oxide with some type of distraction.• Nitrous oxide increases imaginative suggestibility and
imaginative ability. • Guided imagery, videos, I-Pad apps, story telling and singing
can direct the child's focus away from the procedure. • Avoid too much distraction by several people, the child may
lose focus and become agitated
•Include a qualified child life specialist.
•If the procedure is expected to be modestly painful use topical or local anesthesia.
Tips for Successful Nitrous Oxide Administration
• Plan for success! Start with school age cooperative patients who are to undergo only a mildly painful procedure.
•• Don’t be discouraged by failure. Some children simply do not
relax with nitrous oxide administration.•• Parents must be informed that their child will not be deeply
asleep during the sedation and may respond to pain with a flinch or vocalization. Parents may be reassured that many children do not recall the painful portion of the procedure.
Our Multidisciplinary Workgroup
• Anesthesia• Sedation credentialed Physicians (procedural and ED)• Nursing Administration (Director and Manager)• Education Specialist• Members of SJCH Pain Committee• Nursing (specifically from procedural areas)• Child Life Specialists• BioMedical/engineering
Equipment Set Up and Regulatory Overview
• Porter MXR E Stand Package• N2O2 Administration Policy• N2O2 gas• Scavenging system• Safety, Anesthesia Gas Scavenging Policy• Monitoring equipment • Suction and Emergency Resuscitation Equipment• Safety Checks
Child Life Preparation• Similar to pre-op surgery mask prep• Child can pick a flavor to paint their mask• Developmentally appropriate mask play and explanation for
• Patient with still be awake, just very relaxed
• Prepare highly sensitive/anxious patients about the air tank noise (vacuum cleaner)
• Promote control by encouraging patient to hold the mask on their face
Distraction During Nitrous Oxide
• Parental presence during N2O2 administration • Hospital policies may vary• Prepare parents and use them to help assess patient’s level
• One Voice
• Minimal sensory stimulation• TV/movie, music, low-stim I-pad game, VECTA• Guided Imagery, story telling
During Nitrous, cont.
• CCLS can help assess when patient is feeling the full effects of nitrous• Parent assessment is especially helpful for delayed and non-
verbal patients• Ask pt “Do you feel any changes?”, “Are you comfortable?”
• Common signs of “full effect”:• Loses tone and grip in hand/arm• May close eyes • May have non-focused gaze; looking “off in space”• Less responsive to verbal command• Laughs easily
Recovery after Nitrous Oxide
• Must be observed for 15 minutes• Engage in recovery play & distraction• Offer food and drink
• Follow up with patient and family regarding their experience• Used primarily for our Botox patients • Only 1 family preferred Versed only
• VCUG patients still struggle with imaging after catheter placement
Struggles & Barriers
• Anesthesia accustomed to pt’s being fully sedated• No parents allowed back or at bedside
• Anesthesia schedule was very limited
• Minor equipment malfunctions
• Need more credentialed RNs• Expensive, 2-day training
• Equipment cost and storage
The Future of Nitrous Oxide
• More sedation credentialed physicians and nurses
• Expand to the Pediatric Emergency Department• Ideal for fracture reductions, sutures, abscess I&D, and
foreign body removals
• Expand Nitrous schedule • Offered on more days and for a wider range of procedures
• Full time radiology/Day Hospital Child Life Specialist • NPO changes • Floor/bedside procedures
Do you have a Nitrous Oxide program at your hospital?
Have you experienced any challenges or successes?
How do you best distract during Nitrous Oxide administration?
Q&A and Discussion Time
• www.porterinstruments.com• www.cdc.gov/niosh/nitroxide.html• Malamed, S: Sedation A Guide to Patient Management.
Mosby, 4th ed• Clark & Brunick: Handbook of Nitrous Oxide & Oxygen
Sedation. Mosby, 3rd ed.• Luhmann, Kennedy, Porter, Miller, and Jaffe, Annal of
Emergency Medicine, 37:1, January 2001• Zier, Tarrago and Liu, Anesthesia & Analgesia, May 2010
vol.110 no. 5 1399-1405• Babl, Oakley, Seaman, Barnett and Sharwood, Pediatrics
Digest, Vol. 121, No. 3, March 1, 2008, p e528-e532