Propofol for emergency department procedural sedation and analgesia: A tale of three centers

John H. Burton, James R. Miner, Eric R. Shipley, Tania D. Strout, Chris Becker, Henry C. Thode

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Objectives: To characterize propofol procedural sedation and analgesia (PSA) encounters for a large patient population at multiple emergency department (ED) sites. The authors sought to assess the frequency of respiratory and cardiovascular events during propofol PSA within these settings. Methods: This study was a prospective, descriptive series of a consecutive sample of ED patients receiving propofol for PSA at three study sites. Patients were monitored for PSA-related events, including predefined clinically relevant cardiovascular and respiratory events. Data collection was performed during PSA with a standardized data collection sheet unique to each site. Results: Propofol was administered during PSA to 792 patients during the respective reporting period at each center. Indications for sedation included dislocation reduction (38%), cardioversion (10%), fracture reduction (35%), abscess incision and drainage (8%), computed tomography imaging (2%), and tube thoracostomy (1%). The cumulative rate of oxygen desaturation events for all study sites was 7.7% with a brief period of assisted ventilation with bag-valve mask in 3.9%. The cumulative rate of PSA-related hypotensive events was 3.5%. Increasing patient age and specific clinical procedure were clinical variables most associated with any propofol-related respiratory event. All PSA-related events resolved with supportive interventions during the PSA encounter. No patients required endotracheal intubation, prolonged observation, or admission for PSA-related complications. Conclusions: Propofol typically confers a deep sedation experience for ED PSA. The most common PSA events associated with propofol are respiratory related and appear consistent across these three practice settings. All propofol-related PSA events resolved with brief supportive interventions in the ED with no adverse sequelae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-30
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Conscious sedation
  • Procedural sedation and analgesia
  • Propofol


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