Date of this Version


Document Type

DNP Project


Background: Emergence delirium (ED) is a common occurrence following anesthesia, especially after the use of inhaled anesthetics such as sevoflurane, desflurane, and isoflurane in children. ED is characterized by a state of mental confusion, agitation, and restlessness frequently observed in preschool age children. Its incidence ranges from 10-80%. Its etiology, associated risks, prevention, and management are still unclear. Despite the transient nature of this syndrome, it may produce psychological distress in the child, the parents, and the caregivers.

Objective: The aim of the study is to promote a shift in the attitude and perception in anesthesia providers to encourage the use of dexmedetomidine to prevent the occurrence of emergence delirium.

Methods: A literature review was conducted, multiple studies related to the use of dexmedetomidine in comparison to other pharmacological adjuvants previously used in preventing the occurrence of emergence delirium were analyzed. Additional studies were also found to support the use of an educational intervention to promote a change in attitude and perceptions of healthcare professionals towards new practices. A pretest survey assessed the providers’ initial knowledge, attitudes regarding dexmedetomidine. This step was followed by a PowerPoint presentation and a post-test survey.

Results: The delivery of the educational presentation has proven to be effective as demonstrated by the pre and post test results. The QI project demonstrated an increase in the knowledge of dexmedetomidine in the treatment of emergence delirium, and a change in attitude and perception towards the implementation of dexmedetomidine in the providers anesthesia regimen.

Conclusion: Dexmedetomidine shows promising results in preventing emergence delirium when compared to other agents previously used to treat ED. Further studies regarding right dosage and timing of administration to prevent emergence delay are needed.