Endoscopic sedation: medicolegal considerations

Gastrointest Endosc Clin N Am. 2008 Oct;18(4):783-8, x. doi: 10.1016/j.giec.2008.06.009.


The availability of endoscopy as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool has caused the number of procedures performed in the United States to greatly increase; additionally, the volume and complexity of endoscopic procedures performed under sedation, including difficult procedures performed on frail and severely ill patients, has increased. The goals of endoscopic sedation are to provide patients with a successful procedure and to ensure that they remain safe and are relieved from anxiety and discomfort; agents should provide efficient, appropriate sedation and allow patients to recover rapidly. Sedation is usually both safe and effective; however, complications may ensue. This article will explore medicolegal aspects of sedation, such as the importance of informed consent for sedation, the difficulties of assessing withdrawal of consent in a sedated patient, and the need for sedation monitoring which meets accepted standard of care. Controversies involving GI directed propofol and the use of anesthesia personnel to deliver sedation for endoscopy are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Conscious Sedation / methods*
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / methods*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Liability, Legal*
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Propofol / administration & dosage
  • Risk Management


  • Propofol