Emergency department procedural sedation with propofol: is it safe?

Christopher S Weaver, William E Hauter, Edward J Brizendine, William H Cordell
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2007, 33 (4): 355-61
Propofol is a sedative agent gaining popularity for Emergency Department Procedural Sedation (EDPS). However, some institutions across the country continue to restrict the use of propofol secondary to safety concerns. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the complication rate of EDPS with propofol. We conducted a prospective, observational, multi-center study of EDPS patients aged > or = 18 years, consenting to procedural sedation with propofol. Eighty-two patients from two Level I trauma centers were enrolled between August 1, 2002 and January 31, 2003. Transient hypoxemia was the only noted sedation complication. Nine patients (11%) had brief hypoxemia. The combined average hypoxemia time was 1.2 min (SD 0.4), and in all instances responded to simple airway maneuvers or increased oxygen concentration. No patient required advanced airway maneuvers such as intubation or even positive pressure ventilation. EDPS with propofol seems to be safe in our population.

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