Propofol versus propofol plus hydrocodone for flexible bronchoscopy: a randomised study

Eur Respir J. 2011 Sep;38(3):529-37. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00121610. Epub 2011 Feb 10.


Propofol and the combination of a benzodiazepine and an opiate have been established for sedation in flexible bronchoscopy. It is as yet unknown whether propofol in combination with an opiate is superior to propofol alone to suppress cough during the procedure. 300 consecutive patients undergoing flexible bronchoscopy at a tertiary care university hospital were randomly allocated to receive either the combination propofol and hydrocodone or propofol alone in a double-blind fashion. The primary end-point was the cough score during the procedure as estimated by the physician using a visual analogue scale. Demographics were similar in both groups. Compared with propofol alone, median (interquartile range) cough scores assessed by physicians, nurses and patients were significantly lower in the group randomised to the combination propofol and hydrocodone (2.5 (1.5-4.0) versus 2.0 (1.0-3.0), respectively, p=0.011). Additionally, patients receiving the combination required significantly lower doses of propofol than those receiving propofol alone (200 mg (140-280) versus 260 mg (180-350), p<0.0001). Complex examinations, including bronchoalveolar lavage or transbronchial biopsy, benefited more from additional opiate. The duration of the procedure, time to discharge and complication rate were similar in both groups. The combination of propofol and hydrocodone is safe and superior to propofol alone for cough suppression in flexible bronchoscopy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / administration & dosage*
  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Deep Sedation / methods
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Hydrocodone / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / chemistry
  • Patient Safety
  • Propofol / administration & dosage*


  • Anesthetics, Intravenous
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxygen
  • Propofol