Adverse events during monitored anesthesia care for GI endoscopy: an 8-year experience

Gastrointest Endosc. 2011 Aug;74(2):266-75. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2011.04.028. Epub 2011 Jun 25.


Background: The importance of sedation during endoscopy is well established. There is no consensus about the best techniques for sedation, which specialist should perform it, and in which location.

Objective: To provide data on the epidemiology of adverse events during sedation for endoscopy.

Design: Retrospective analysis of a prospective database.

Setting: Endoscopy unit of a university hospital.

Procedures: A total of 17,999 procedures performed over 8 years.

Interventions: Sedation for GI endoscopy.

Main outcome measurements: We recorded the following information: sex, age, body mass index, smoking habits, American Society of Anesthesiologists and Mallampati scores, duration of the procedure, type of sedative drug administered, whether the procedure was performed emergently, and endoscopic interventions during the maneuver. Adverse events were defined as occurrences that warranted intervention and were classified as hypotension, desaturation, bradycardia, hypertension, arrhythmia, aspiration, respiratory depression, vomiting, cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, angina, hypoglycemia, and/or allergic reaction.

Results: Deep sedation with intravenous propofol target controlled infusion pump was the most frequently used means of administering sedation. Adverse events were rare in both the adult (4.5%) and pediatric (2.6%) populations. Six complications occurred in more than 0.1% of adult cases: arterial hypotension, desaturation, bradycardia, arterial hypertension, arrhythmia, and aspiration. Only bradycardia (2.1%) and hypotension (0.44%) occurred in children. Three adult patients (0.017%) died, and no pediatric patients died. Some predictive models for the occurrence of complications are proposed.

Limitations: Retrospective analysis, single-center data collection.

Conclusions: Deep sedation during endoscopic procedures is safe in both adults and children. Our data may be useful for the future planning of new clinical strategies in this setting.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anesthetics, Inhalation
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bradycardia / epidemiology
  • Bradycardia / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deep Sedation / adverse effects*
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Fentanyl*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Hypotension / epidemiology
  • Hypotension / etiology
  • Hypoxia / epidemiology
  • Hypoxia / etiology
  • Male
  • Methyl Ethers*
  • Midazolam*
  • Middle Aged
  • Propofol*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sevoflurane
  • Time Factors


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anesthetics, Inhalation
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Methyl Ethers
  • Sevoflurane
  • Midazolam
  • Fentanyl
  • Propofol