Use of Digital Pupillometry to Measure Sedative Response to Propofol

Ochsner J. 2017 Fall;17(3):250-253.


Background: Digital pupillometry (DP) accurately and precisely measures pupillary responses. Little is known about using DP to measure the sedative effect of isolated propofol administration.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 19 adults undergoing moderate sedation with propofol during which we measured pupillary changes using DP.

Results: Maximum and minimum pupillary diameters decreased significantly with propofol (mean change from baseline to procedural termination -1.24 mm, standard error [SE] 0.25 and -0.79 mm, SE 0.13, respectively; P≤0.001 for both). Mean constriction velocity decreased by 0.84 mm/s between baseline and procedural termination (P=0.001). Pupillary latency increased significantly between baseline and induction (mean change 0.016 seconds, SE 0.007; P=0.04) but was not significantly different at other time points.

Conclusion: We speculate that DP may be a useful tool to monitor propofol sedation.

Keywords: Conscious sedation; hypnotics and sedatives; propofol; reflex–pupillary.