Procedural sedation in ambulatory anaesthesia: what's new?

Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2019 Dec;32(6):743-748. doi: 10.1097/ACO.0000000000000792.


Purpose of review: Although sedation traditionally has been regarded as an easy, straight forward and simple variety of general anaesthesia; the trends are to make sedation more sophisticated and dedicated. Also to have a critical look at old dogmas, as they are usually derived from the practice of general anaesthesia. Safety always has to be first priority, especially as the practice grows out of traditional theatres and frequently are being practiced by nonanaesthetic personnel.

Recent findings: Safety comes from learning of rare cases with severe problems as well as better guidelines and rules of accreditation. Further, there is a growing quest for evidence on pragmatic, high-quality, cost-effective practice; in terms of logistics, monitoring, choice of drugs and quality assurance. The traditional drugs, such as propofol, midazolam and remifentanil, are still defending their dominant position but are being challenged by ketamine and etomidate. Remimazolam and dexmedetomidine are new promising drugs in this area, whereas metoxyflurane may have a revival in some situations. Further, there is growing evidence into specific protocols, practice for special procedures and for patients with special challenges.

Summary: Procedural sedation deserves to have high degree of attention for further developments, both from a scientific and pragmatic point of view, as the practice is very diversified and growing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures*
  • Anesthesia / trends*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives