Safety of Propofol Used as a Rescue Agent During Colonoscopy

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Abstract

Goal:

The goal of this study was to evaluate the safety of propofol when used by gastroenterologists in patients who have an inadequate response to standard sedation (narcotics and benzodiazepines).

Background:

Many patients fail to achieve adequate sedation from narcotics and benzodiazepines during colonoscopy. The administration of propofol for colonoscopy is increasing, although its use by gastroenterologists is controversial.

Study:

We performed a retrospective review of our hospital’s colonoscopy records from January 2006 to December 2009 to identify 403 subjects undergoing screening colonoscopies who required propofol (20 to 30 mg every 3 min as needed) because of inadequate response to standard sedation. We also randomly selected 403 controls undergoing screening colonoscopies from the same time period that only required standard sedation. The incidence of adverse effects was then compared.

Results:

There were no major adverse events in either group. The rates of minor adverse events in the propofol and control group were 0.02 and 0.01, respectively (P=0.56). Adverse effects in the propofol group included: transient hypotension (n=1), nausea/vomiting (n=3), agitation (n=2), and rash (n=1). Adverse effects seen with standard sedation included: transient hypotension (n=2), nausea/vomiting (n=1), and oversedation (n=2). Patients who received propofol were more likely to be younger, had a history of illicit drug use, and a longer procedure time (P<0.05).

Conclusions:

Adjunctive propofol administered by gastroenterologist for conscious sedation was not associated with increased incidence of adverse events. It may be of value in patients who do not respond to conventional sedation.

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