Patient-controlled propofol sedation for elderly patients: safety and patient attitude toward control

Can J Anaesth. 1996 Oct;43(10):1014-8. doi: 10.1007/BF03011902.


Purpose: Little information is available regarding the use of patient-controlled sedation (PCS) among elderly patients undergoing operative procedures under local or regional anaesthesia. This prospective, randomized study evaluated the safety of propofol PCS, and the attitude among elderly patients toward self-administration of sedation during cataract surgery.

Methods: Prospective, randomized study conducted in a University affiliated, tertiary-care hospital. Fifty-five elderly patients (aged 65-79 yr) were randomized to receive propofol patient-controlled sedation (PCS) (n = 28) or no intraoperative sedation (n = 27) during cataract surgery performed under peribulbar block. The PCS parameters consisted of a lockout interval of three minutes and a PCS dose of 0.3 Study groups were compared with respect to sedation, anxiety and discomfort visual analogue scores (VAS), cognitive functioning, patient satisfaction and the incidence of intraoperative complications.

Results: Patients in the PCS group administered a mean propofol dose of 65 +/- 49 mg during procedures with a mean duration of 46 min. The incidence of intraoperative complications and sedation, anxiety and discomfort VAS were similar between groups. Patient satisfaction with PCS was high. In the PCS group, 10 (35%) of the 28 patients did not use the device because they were comfortable and did not feel they needed sedation. Satisfaction was higher in the PCS group (P = 0.02), whether or not they used the PCS device, compared with patients who did not receive a PCS device.

Conclusions: Propofol PCS represents a safe sedation technique among elderly patients in a monitored care setting. Elderly patients appear to prefer the option of receiving some form of intraoperative sedation and respond favourably to the opportunity to control administration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Propofol / administration & dosage*
  • Propofol / adverse effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Administration


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Propofol