OBJECTIVE: Narcotics and benzodiazepines are commonly used for sedation for endoscopy in the United States. Propofol has certain advantages over narcotics and benzodiazepines, but its use is often controlled by anesthesia specialists. This report describes our experience with dosage, safety, patient satisfaction, and discharge time with nurse-administered propofol sedation in 9152 endoscopic cases. METHODS: The study was performed in a private practice ambulatory surgery center in Medford, Oregon. With the assistance of an anesthesiologist, we developed a protocol for administration of propofol in routine endoscopic cases, in which propofol was given by registered nurses under the supervision of endoscopists or gastroenterologists. We then applied the protocol with 9152 patients. RESULTS: There were seven cases of respiratory compromise (three prolonged apnea, three laryngospasm, one aspiration requiring hospitalization), all associated with upper endoscopy. Five patients required mask ventilation, but none required endotracheal intubation. There were seven colonic perforations (<1 per 1000 colonoscopies), of which three may have involved forceful sigmoid disruption. Of patients who had previously received narcotic or benzodiazepine sedation, 84% preferred propofol. Gastroenterologists strongly preferred propofol. The mean time from completion of procedures to discharge in a sample of 100 patients was 18 min. CONCLUSION: Nurse-administered propofol sedation in an ambulatory surgery center was safe and resulted in high levels of patient satisfaction and rapid postprocedure recovery and discharge.
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