The Effect of Midazolam on Stress Levels During Simulated Emergency Medical Service Transport: A Placebo-Controlled, Dose-Response Study
Patients in the emergency medical service (EMS) may have increased endogenous catecholamines because of pain or fear and may benefit from sedation similar to premedication in the hospital. During a simulated EMS scene call, 72 healthy male volunteers were either transported by paramedics from a third-floor apartment through a staircase with subsequent EMS transport with sirens (three stress groups of n = 12; total, n = 36) or asked to sit on a chair for 5 min and lie down on a stretcher for 15 min (three control groups of n = 12; total, n = 36). Catecholamine plasma samples were measured in the respective stress and control groups at baseline and after placebo IV (n = 12) or 25 (n = 12) or 50 (n = 12) μg/kg of midazolam IV throughout the experiment, respectively. Statistical analysis was performed with analysis of variance; P < 0.05 was considered significant. The Placebo Stress versus Control group, but not the 50 μg/kg Stress Midazolam group, had both significantly increased epinephrine (73 ± 5 pg/mL versus 45 ± 5 pg/mL; P < 0.001) and norepinephrine (398 ± 34 pg/mL versus 278 ± 23 pg/mL; P < 0.01) plasma levels after staircase transport. After EMS transport, the Placebo Stress versus Control group had significantly increased epinephrine (51 ± 4 pg/mL versus 37 ± 4 pg/mL; P < 0.05) but not norepinephrine (216 ± 24 pg/mL versus 237 ± 18 pg/mL) plasma levels, whereas no significant differences in catecholamine plasma levels occurred between groups after either 25 or 50 μg/kg of midazolam. In conclusion, simulated EMS patients may be subject to more stress during staircase transport than during transport in an EMS vehicle. Titrating sedation with 25 μg/kg of midazolam significantly reduced endogenous catecholamines but not heart rate.