Propofol decreases etomidate-related myoclonus in gastroscopy

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Myoclonus, a common complication during intravenous induction with etomidate, is bothersome to both anesthesiologists and patients. This study explored the preventive effect of pretreatment with propofol on etomidate-related myoclonus.


This was a prospective, double-blind, clinical, randomized controlled study. Totally, 363 patients who were scheduled for a short-duration, painless gastrointestinal endoscopy were divided into 5 groups. Four groups received 0 mg/kg (E group), 0.25 mg/kg (LPE group), 0.50 mg/kg (MPE group), or 0.75 mg/kg (HPE group) propofol pretreatment before etomidate anesthesia. Another group only received 1 to 2 mg/kg of propofol (P group) as anesthesia. The incidence and severity of myoclonus, patient circulation and respiratory status, and intraoperative and postoperative complications were recorded.


The incidence of myoclonus in the LPE group (26.8%), MPE group (16.4%), HPE group (14.9%), and P group (0) was lower than the E group (48.6%, P < .05). The incidence of grade 1, 2, and 3 of myoclonus in the LPE group, MPE group, HPE group, and P group was significantly lower than the E group, and that in the P group was lower than the LPE group (P < .05). The incidence of hypoxemia in the P group was higher than the E group, and the incidence of adverse events in the HPE group and P group was lower than the E group (P < .05).


Pretreatment with propofol was feasible for preventing etomidate-related myoclonus. Furthermore, as propofol dosage increased, its effect on reducing the incidence and severity of myoclonic movements induced by etomidate increased.

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