Safety of conscious sedation in patients with sleep apnea in a veteran population

South Med J. 2011 Mar;104(3):185-8. doi: 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e318205e55e.


Objectives: Due to the presumed higher risk of cardiopulmonary complications in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), many endoscopy centers consider OSA a contraindication to using conscious sedation. We evaluated the safety of conscious sedation during endoscopy for patients with OSA in a veteran population, and compared this to patients without OSA.

Methods: Polysomnography studies were reviewed from 2004 to 2009 to identify 200 patients with OSA who had undergone endoscopy. Controls included the last 200 consecutive endoscopies in this institution for patients without OSA. Sixty-three upper endoscopies, 136 colonoscopies, and one enteroscopy were included in the OSA group. Sixty-five upper endoscopies, 133 colonoscopies, one sigmoidoscopy, and one endoscopic ultrasound comprised the control group. Data obtained included demographics, medications prescribed, and any complication noted in the procedure report.

Results: No complications occurred in the control group. In the OSA group, a patient experienced oxygen desaturation during an upper endoscopy and required oxygen supplementation. The procedure was completed and did not require an extended stay in the endoscopy suite.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that endoscopy can be safely done in OSA patients using conscious sedation, and the complication rate is not significantly different than patients without OSA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Conscious Sedation*
  • Endoscopy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Safety*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Veterans*