Moderate-to-Deep Sedation Using Target-Controlled Infusions of Propofol and Remifentanil: Adverse Events and Risk Factors: A Retrospective Cohort Study of 2937 Procedures

Clemens R M Barends*, Mendy K Driesens, Kai van Amsterdam, Michel M R F Struys, Anthony R Absalom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: In the University Medical Center Groningen in Groningen, the Netherlands, moderate-to-deep sedation is provided by nursing staff trained and supervised by the anesthesia department using protocol-based target-controlled infusions (TCIs) of propofol and remifentanil. The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to investigate the incidence of events with potential adverse health consequences within this service model and the risk factors for the occurrence of these events. METHODS: We retrospectively interrogated a database containing the computerized anesthetic records of 2937 procedures where moderate-to-deep sedation was provided using TCI administration of propofol and remifentanil between May 2014 and October 2017. The primary outcome measures were the incidence of sedation-related events with potential adverse health consequences and risk factors for the occurrence of such events. The events under investigation were unplanned intensive care unit (ICU) admission, need for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), death on the day of the procedure due to sedation-related events, cardiovascular events (arrhythmias, hypertension, and hypotension), pulmonary events (aspiration, desaturation, unplanned tracheal intubation), anaphylactic or allergic reactions, and the termination of the procedure due to sedation-related events. Cardiovascular and pulmonary events were classified as severe, significant, or moderate. Events were identified by using computer algorithms to search the computerized records from all included procedures. RESULTS: Data from 2937 procedures were analyzed. No patients suffered catastrophic events (death, need for CPR, or unplanned ICU admission). Thirty-two severe sedation-related events occurred in 32 procedures. Severe desaturation (0.6%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.4-0.9) and severe hypertension (0.2%; 95% CI, 0.04-0.37) were the most common severe events. Significant hypotension (8.8%; 95% CI, 7.73-9.77) and significant desaturation (1.6%; 95% CI, 1.12-2.02) were found to be the most common events with potential adverse health consequences. No patient suffered lasting health consequences. Average mean and maximum targeted effect-site concentrations (Cet) for propofol were 2.6 ± 0.83 and 3.3 ± 1.09 µg·mL-1, respectively, and for remifentanil 0.84 ± 0.18 and 0.99 ± 0.22 ng·mL-1, respectively. Maximum Cets of propofol were lower among patients with higher body mass index (BMI) and were higher among patients of younger age. Higher BMI was a risk factor for desaturation. Increased age and lower BMI were risk factors for hypotension. Longer procedure time was a risk factor for both desaturation and hypotension. CONCLUSIONS: Moderate-to-deep sedation by propofol and remifentanil TCI has a low incidence of catastrophic and severe events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1173-1183
Number of pages11
JournalAnesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number4
Early online date16-Dec-2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2020


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