Emergence Agitation | Can Acetaminophen Given 1-2 Hours to Children Before Ear Tube Surgery Reduce Agitation After Anesthesia?

Emergence Agitation research study

What is the primary objective of this study?

Emergence agitation (EA) occurs in up to 67% of pediatric patients after anesthesia for bilateral myringotomy tubes (BMT, \"ear tubes\"). The goal of this study is to find out whether acetaminophen given well before surgery can decrease pain and therefore, decrease emergence agitation better than acetaminophen given shortly before or during surgery. EA can be dangerous for the patient because it may be hard to monitor their vital signs during an important phase of recovery, they may injure themselves, may require the presence of extra staff, and it can be very distressing to the parents. Causes of EA are not well understood, but it can be worsened by pain. 70% of patients undergoing BMT experience pain that needs treatment. Intranasal fentanyl, a strong analgesic, has been shown to decrease EA, but often ends up in dose-dependent nausea and vomiting. In previous studies and in common practice, acetaminophen is given either 30 minutes before induction of anesthesia or immediately after induction. The peak analgesic effect of acetaminophen is 60-120 minutes. Since the procedure is generally completed in 5-10 minutes, the therapeutic effect of acetaminophen may not be present upon emergence from anesthesia. The purpose of this study is to find out if acetaminophen given 60-120 minutes prior to emergence can decrease EA in patients undergoing BMT. Patients would be randomized to one of three groups: Control will receive acetaminophen rectally while under anesthesia (standard practice), Group 1 will receive acetaminophen 10 mg/kg at 60-120 minutes prior to surgery, Group 2 will receive acetaminophen 20 mg/kg at 60-120 minutes prior to surgery. All groups would also receive a dose of intranasal fentanyl during the surgery, which is standard practice. Patients would be observed in the recovery room at various time points for evidence of EA and pain.

Who is eligible to participate?

Which medical condition, disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury is researched?

Emergence Agitation


Study Interventions

Interventions can include giving participants drugs, medical devices, procedures, vaccines, and other products that are either investigational or already available or noninvasive approaches such as surveys, education, and interviews.


Study Arms

Research studies and clinical trials typically have two or more research arms. An arm is a group of people who receive the same treatment in the study.

Acetaminophen PRAcetaminophen PR (20-40mg/kg) after induction of Anesthesia (acetaminophen is in suppository form and given rectally)

Acetaminophen PO-low doseAcetaminophen PO (10mg/kg) 60-120min before start of BMT placement (acetaminophen is in syrup form and given by mouth)

Acetaminophen PO-high doseAcetaminophen PO (20mg/kg) 60-120min before start of BMT placement (acetaminophen is in syrup form and given by mouth)

Study Status


Start Date: November 2012

Completed Date: April 2014

Phase: Phase 4

Type: Interventional


Primary Outcome: Postanesthesia Emergence Agitation (EA) Score

Secondary Outcome: Postanesthesia Pain Score

Study sponsors, principal investigator, and references

Principal Investigator: Wendy Ren, MD

Lead Sponsor: University of California, Los Angeles


More information:

Discuss Agitation