Hemodynamic Effects of Propofol for Induction of Rapid Sequence Intubation in Traumatically Injured Patients

Am Surg. 2018 Sep 1;84(9):1504-1508.


Present guidelines for emergency intubation in traumatically injured patients recommend rapid sequence intubation (RSI) as the preferred method of airway management but specific pharmacologic agents for RSI remain controversial. To evaluate hemodynamic differences between propofol and other induction agents when used for RSI in trauma patients. Single-center, retrospective review of trauma patients intubated in the emergency department. Patients were divided in two groups based on induction agent, propofol or nonpropofol. The primary outcome was incidence of hypotension within 30 minutes of intubation. Secondary outcomes included hospital length of stay and inhospital mortality. The study protocol was approved by the Institutional Review Board. Of the 744 patients identified, 83 were analyzed, 43 in the propofol group and 40 in the nonpropofol group. Groups were similar at baseline in terms of pre-RSI hemodynamics, injury mechanism, initial Glasgow Coma Score, and Injury Severity Score. On univariate analysis, although not statistically significant, postintubation hypotension was more common in patients who received propofol compared with those who did not, 39.5 per cent versus 22.5 per cent (P = 0.9). When adjusted for age, Injury Severity Score, and pre-RSI hemodynamics, the risk of hypotension among propofol-treated patients was significantly higher (OR = 3.64; 95% Confidence interval 1.16-13.24). There were no significant differences between groups in hospital length of stay or mortality. Propofol increases the odds of postintubation hypotension in traumatically injured patients. Considerable caution should be used when contemplating the use of propofol the for induction of injured patients requiring RSI because other agents possess more favorable hemodynamic profiles.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use*
  • Hypotension / epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Intubation, Intratracheal*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Propofol / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*
  • Young Adult


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Propofol