Propofol Versus Midazolam/Fentanyl Sedation for Colonoscopy in the Elderly Patient Population

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Despite current literature, data on the most effective sedation and best patient outcomes are insufficient for providing recovery time recommendations for elderly patients undergoing colonoscopy with sedation. We sought to identify the best sedation practice for shorter recovery times. Therefore, a study was conducted to examine recovery times among patients older than 65 years undergoing elective colonoscopy with intravenous sedation with either propofol or the combination of midazolam/fentanyl.


A retrospective descriptive, exploratory design was used.


We retrospectively reviewed data from patients older than 65 years undergoing outpatient elective colonoscopy at our institution between January and December 2013. Recovery times were evaluated for those administered intravenous propofol or a combination of midazolam/fentanyl. Patient demographics and sedation medications were obtained from patient records. A modified Aldrete score greater than 8 was required for discharge. Recovery time was defined as the time from procedure completion to a modified Aldrete score greater than 8.


Propofol sedation was associated with longer recovery times compared with sedation with a combination of midazolam and fentanyl (mean: 50 minutes versus 31 minutes, P < .001).


Propofol sedation was not associated with shorter recovery times. Further studies are needed to validate these findings.

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