Nurse-administered propofol sedation: feasibility and safety in bronchoscopy

Respiration. 2010;79(4):315-21. doi: 10.1159/000271604. Epub 2009 Dec 23.


Background: Propofol is a fast-acting intravenous sedative that has advantages as a procedural sedative over traditional regimens. It has been shown to have a similar safety profile to traditional sedating medications in the setting of gastroenterologic endoscopy. Nurse-administered propofol sedation is given by a specially-trained nurse, without anesthesiologist involvement.

Objectives: We have used nurse-administered propofol sedation in our bronchoscopy suite for several years. In this report, we summarize our experience with nurse-administered propofol sedation, and demonstrate it to be feasible and safe for bronchoscopic procedures.

Methods: Procedure reports and nursing notes for 588 bronchoscopic procedures performed between July 2006 and June 2008 were retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographics, procedure type and indication, procedure time, medication doses, and adverse events were noted and analyzed.

Results: Nurse-administered propofol sedation was used in 498/588 (85%) procedures. Patients utilizing nurse-administered propofol sedation had an average age of 53 years (range 18-86) with an average weight of 80 kg. 56% of the patients were male, and 57% of the procedures were performed on outpatients. Average procedure duration was 25 min (range 3-123). The average propofol dose was 3.13 mg/kg (range 0.12-20 mg/kg). Adverse events attributable to sedation were noted in 33 (6.6%) procedures. Of the 14 (2.8%) major adverse events (death, need for intubation, ICU stay, or hospitalization), only 6 (1.2%) were potentially attributable to the sedation regimen. There were 2 deaths, neither of which was related to sedation.

Conclusions: Nurse-administered propofol sedation is a feasible and safe sedation method for bronchoscopic procedures.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesia / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia / nursing*
  • Bronchoscopy* / adverse effects
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Propofol / administration & dosage*
  • Propofol / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Propofol