Sedation for electrophysiological procedures

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2014 Jun;37(6):781-90. doi: 10.1111/pace.12370. Epub 2014 Feb 20.


Administration of intravenous sedation (IVS) has become an integral component of procedural cardiac electrophysiology. IVS is employed in diagnostic and ablation procedures for transcutaneous treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, electrical cardioversion of arrhythmias, and the insertion of implantable electronic devices including pacemakers, defibrillators, and loop recorders. Sedation is frequently performed by nursing staff under the supervision of the proceduralist and in the absence of specialist anesthesiologists. The sedation requirements vary depending on the nature of the procedure. A wide range of sedation techniques have been reported with sedation from the near fully conscious to levels approaching that of general anesthesia. This review examines the methods employed and outcomes associated with reported sedation techniques. There is a large experience with the combination of benzodiazepines and narcotics. These drugs have a broad therapeutic range and the advantage of readily available reversal agents. More recently, the use of propofol without serious adverse events has been reported. The results provide a guide regarding the expected outcomes of these approaches. The complication rate and need for emergency assistance is low in reported series where sedation is administered by nonspecialist anesthesiology staff.

Keywords: ablation; anesthesia; arrhythmias; atrial fibrillation; cardioversion; defibrillator; electrophysiology; pacing; pulmonary vein isolation; sedation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, General / methods*
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac / adverse effects*
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / prevention & control*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives