Predictive factors of oxygen desaturation of patients submitted to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography under conscious sedation

Arq Gastroenterol. 2004 Jul-Sep;41(3):162-6. doi: 10.1590/s0004-28032004000300005. Epub 2005 Jan 21.


Background and aims: Hypoxemia can occur during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography probably induced by the analgesia and sedation done. Moreover the patients prone position difficults the adequate ventilation. The hypoxemia and hypoventilation may not be noticed by nursing staff. A transversal study was used to investigate possible predictive factors of oxygen desaturation in sedated patients with midazolam associated to meperidine undergoing endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.

Patients and methods: A total of 186 patients were monitored with continuous pulse oximetry. Poisson regression was used to measure the independent effect of each factor adjusted for effects of each of the other factors. The variables studied were: age, gender, hematocrit and hemoglobin levels, scopolamine use, diagnostic or therapeutic exam, American Society of Anesthesiologists Scores (ASA), duration time of exam, sedative used midazolam in the average of 0.07 mg/kg and analgesic drug meperidine in the average of 0.7 mg/kg that was titrated according patients reaction.

Results: No desaturation was found in 113 (60.8%) patients, mild desaturation (SpO2 <92%) in 22 (11.8%) and severe desaturation (SpO2 <90%) in 51 (27.4%). This desaturation was recognized only by the pulse oximeter. There was no need to use any antagonist drug of the sedatives in patients who had severe desaturation, they were just stimulated to deep breaths and oxygen was offered at 2 liters per minute via catheter. The variables found to predict desaturation were age >60 years old and ASA score III. The duration of exam was barely significant for desaturation.

Conclusions: The variables of age of 60 years old or more, and ASA III score are identified as increased risk for desaturation for patients who undergo endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography under conscious sedation. Long time of exam suggests the patient oxygen desaturate. Such patients require very close monitoring to desaturation and hypoventilation by the assistants and nursing staff alerting to respiratory depression. The use of pulse oximeter and asking for deep breaths during the exam helps to diminish such risks.

MeSH terms

  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde*
  • Conscious Sedation*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / diagnosis
  • Hypoxia / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors


  • Oxygen