Safety and efficacy of a cardiologist-only approach to deep sedation for electrical cardioversion

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AimsElectrical cardioversion is still the preferred method to restore sinus rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation. The main disadvantage is that electrical cardioversion requires deep sedation, generally administered by anaesthesiologists, for safety concern. An exclusively cardiologic management of deep sedation should have the advantage to reduce resources and time consumed.MethodsAll consecutive patients admitted to our division with persistent atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter to undergo elective electrical cardioversion from June 2002 to December 2016 were included. The sedation protocol was managed only by cardiologists and involved the administration of a 5-mg bolus of midazolam, followed by increasing doses of propofol to achieve the desired sedation level. Exclusion criteria were strictly observed. Complications were recorded. A retrospective analysis on a deidentified database has been performed.ResultsA total of 1188 electrical cardioversions were scheduled in our centre. A total of 1195 patients were scheduled in our centre, of whom 1188 met inclusion criteria. Electrical cardioversion was performed in 1073 cases (90.3%). Electrical cardioversion was successful in restoring sinus rhythm in 1030 (96.0%) patients. Immediate recurrence of atrial fibrillation occurred in 89 patients (8.3%). 99/1073 (9.22%) patients underwent trans-oesophagel echocardiography before cardioversion. Deep sedation, according to our protocol, was effective in 100% of cases. Midazolam was administered at a dosage of 5 mg to all patients, while propofol was administered at a dosage ranging from 20 to 80 mg (25.1 ± 11.0 mg SD). No anaesthesia-related complications were observed, neither significant respiratory depression requiring intubation nor anaesthesiologist support.ConclusionThe exclusively cardiological procedure of deep sedation seems to be safe and effective.

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