Procedural Sedation

Leave a comment

April 17, 2018 by jtreb

Procedural sedation is not an uncommon procedure in the emergency department. It can go smoothly without difficulty, or can require emergency intubation/resuscitation. Ideally, you want to put the patient to sleep, have the procedure (shoulder reduction, etc) be performed, and then have the patient wake up. However, unexpected complications can occur. A way to ameliorate the effects of these complications is to be prepared for all possible outcomes in addition to taking a good history and physical.


WHAT: Procedural sedation: a technique of administering sedatives or dissociative agents to induce a state that allows a patient to tolerate procedures while maintaining cardiorespiratory function


TYPES OF SEDATION: Minimal –> Airway, ventilations, and cardiovascular function unaffected; good for anxiolysis, pain relief, before an LP

Moderate –> Purposeful responses to verbal/tactile stimulation.  Airway, ventilations, and cardiovascular function unaffected.

Deep –> Patient can respond to repeated/painful stimulation; airway/ventilations may need to be assisted depending on amount of deep sedation given; good for reductions, burn wound debridement



History of allergic reactions/reactions to anesthetic agents

History of intubations and difficult airways

History of OSA



Two Peripheral IVs (or two points of IV access)

ETCO2 monitoring and SpO2 monitoring

Two suction devices

Nasal cannula/NRB/BVM/oxygen

Oral airway

Nasal airway

Blade (mac/miller)

Backup blade (glidescope, mac/miller)

Backup backup (bougie, LMA)

ETT with stylet

IV saline bag

Medications (three most commonly used are below)

-Propofol = 1mg/kg IV

-Etomidate = 0.15mg/kg IV

-Ketamine = 1mg/kg IV


COMPLICATIONS: Patient not adequately sedation (may require more agent)

Patient too sedated

Allergic reactions (treated similarly to any other allergic reaction with consideration of dantrolene for malignant hyperthermia)

Interventions can include stimulating patient, jaw thrust, increasing oxygen delivery, assisting respirations with BVM, and ultimately, intubation




Deitch K, Miner J, Chudnofsky CR, Dominici P, Latta D. Does end tidal CO2 monitoring during emergency department procedural sedation and analgesia with propofol decrease the incidence of hypoxic events? A randomized, controlled trial. Ann Emerg Med. 2010 Mar;55(3):258-64.

Tintinalli JE, Stapczynski JS, Ma JO, Cline DM, Cydulka RK, and Meckler GD. 2011. Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th edition. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Chapter 41 pp283-91.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: