Introduction: Older patients are the most prevalent age cohort requiring bronchoscopy. Prior sedation should be offered to improve patient comfort and operator technical ease. Older patients have increased sensitivity to centrally acting drugs increasing the procedural risk. This perceived risk may limit access to bronchoscopy in older patients. There have been no systematic prospective placebo-controlled studies in older patients. We compared a novel premedication regimen-oral temazepam plus nebulised Lignocaine (new treatment) to an established regimen of intravenous alfentanyl (control).
Methods: Consecutive patients 75 years and older referred for bronchoscopy were considered. Twenty-five patients were randomly assigned to each group. The primary outcome measure was the lowest oxygen saturation recorded from the administration of IV drugs and for 30 min post-bronchoscopy.
Results: The lowest mean oxygen saturation in the new treatment group was 92.2% (90.3-94.2) and in the control group 91.1% (89.2-93.1). This was not statistically different (P = 0.370). There were no adverse events.
Conclusion: This is the largest prospective study to date on an older population undergoing bronchoscopy supporting previous retrospective findings regarding the safety of this procedure. Determined by oxygen saturations there is no difference in safety between premedication regimens comprising oral temazepam/nebulised lignocaine or intravenous alfentanyl.