Recovery of cognitive function after sedation with propofol for outpatient gastrointestinal endoscopy

Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2019 May-Jun;25(3):188-193. doi: 10.4103/sjg.SJG_369_18.


Background/aim: Most endoscopies performed in the United States utilize sedation. Anesthesia provides patient comfort and improved procedural quality but adds to the complexity of scheduling routine outpatient procedures. We aimed to assess the return of cognitive function after propofol administration in patients undergoing outpatient endoscopies.

Patients and methods: Cognitive recovery for patients undergoing endoscopy under monitored anesthesia care was evaluated using EncephalApp. Patients were tested before and after procedure and healthy controls were tested twice, 30 min apart. Results were tabulated in on state (on time) and off state (off time) and total time (on time + off time). The time difference between pre- and post-tests, "delta," was calculated for on, off, and total times. Wilcoxon rank test was used to check the difference in mean delta of all three test times between cases and controls and to check for statistical significance.

Results: The difference in mean time between cases and controls was significant for off (P < 0.0001) and total (P = 0.0002) times. No statistically significant difference was noted in mean time for on time (P = 0.013) between cases and controls. Cognitive flexibility, a measure of on time, returned to baseline after procedural sedation even though psychomotor speed, a measure of off time and total time, had not.

Conclusion: Cognitive flexibility returns to baseline within 30-45 min after propofol sedation despite delayed return of psychomotor speed and reaction time.

Keywords: Cognitive recovery; EncephalApp; endoscopy; propofol; sedation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care / methods
  • Anesthesia / standards
  • Anesthesia Recovery Period
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications
  • Propofol / administration & dosage
  • Propofol / adverse effects*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Propofol