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Alfentanil and patient-controlled propofol sedation – facilitate gynaecological outpatient surgery with increased risk of respiratory events
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Anesthesiology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Anaesthetics, Operations and Specialty Surgery Center, Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care in Linköping.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Anesthesiology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Anaesthetics, Operations and Specialty Surgery Center, Department of Anaesthesiology and Surgery.
Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Center of Paediatrics and Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in Linköping.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Burn Center. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Anaesthetics, Operations and Specialty Surgery Center, Department of Hand and Plastic Surgery. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Anaesthetics, Operations and Specialty Surgery Center, Department of Anaesthesiology and Surgery.
2012 (English)In: Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, ISSN 0001-5172, E-ISSN 1399-6576, Vol. 56, no 9, 1123-1129 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Widespread use of patient-controlled sedation (PCS) demands simplicity and a predictable outcome. We evaluated patients’ safety and ease of use of PCS for gynaecological outpatient procedures.


In a prospective double-blind study, 165 patients were randomized to use propofol or propofol with alfentanil as PCS combined with local anaesthetic for pain control. Data on cardiopulmonary function, consciousness, and need for interventions were collected at baseline and every fifth minute. The surgeons’ evaluation of the ease and the duration of the procedure were recorded.


One hundred and fifty-five patients used PCS for the entire procedure, 76 patients propofol, and 79 patients propofol/alfentanil. Fifteen procedures in the propofol group were limited or could not be done, compared with four in the propofol/alfentanil group (P = 0.02). The duration of surgery was not affected. The addition of alfentanil affected respiratory function compared with the propofol group: five patients compared with none were manually ventilated (P = 0.03), and two thirds, compared with a quarter, were given supplementary oxygen as their saturation decreased below 90% (P <0.001). Overall cardiovascular stability was maintained. The propofol group had deeper conscious sedation as measured by the bispectral index (P  = 0.03), but all patients could be roused. In the propofol/alfentanil group, five patients became apnoeic and could not be roused.


PCS using propofol alone supports patients’ safety, as the addition of alfentanil increased the need for specific interventions to maintain respiratory stability. However, alfentanil increases the feasibility of the procedure, as complementary doses of propofol were not required.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell , 2012. Vol. 56, no 9, 1123-1129 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-84741DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.2012.02749.xISI: 000308635200007OAI: diva2:561494

Funding Agencies|Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Linkoping University Hospital, Linkoping, Sweden|581 85|

Available from: 2012-10-19 Created: 2012-10-19 Last updated: 2014-11-24
In thesis
1. Patient-controlled sedation in procedural care
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Patient-controlled sedation in procedural care
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The need for procedural sedation is extensive and on the increase in numbers of patients. Minor treatments or diagnostic procedures are being performed with inadequate sedation or even without any sedatives or analgesics. Also, sedation techniques that support advanced, high-quality, in-patient care procedures representing easy performance and rapid recovery are requested for increased effectiveness. In this doctoral thesis, patient-controlled sedation (PCS) using propofol and alfentanil for surgical and diagnostic procedures was studied. The overall aim was to study aspects of safety, procedural feasibility and patients’ experiences. The main hypothesis was that PCS using only propofol is a safe and effective method for the induction and maintenance of moderate procedural sedation. The studies included were prospective, interventional, and in some cases, randomized and double-blinded.

Data on cardiopulmonary changes, level of conscious sedation (bispectral index and Observer’s assessment of alertness/sedation [OAA/S]), pain, discomfort, anxiety, nausea (visual analogue scales), interventions performed by nurse anaesthetists, surgeons’ evaluation of feasibility, procedure characteristics, recovery (Aldrete score) and pharmacokinetic simulation of concentrations of drugs at the effect site supported the analysis and comparison between PCS and anaesthetist-controlled sedation and propofol PCS with or without alfentanil.

PCS can be adjusted to cover a broad range of areas where sedation is needed, which, in this thesis, included burn care, gynaecological out-patient surgery and endoscopic procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in the bile ducts (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography [ERCP]). PCS for burn wound treatment demands the addition of alfentanil, but still seems to be safe. PCS was preferred by the patients instead of anaesthetist-controlled sedation. The addition of alfentanil to PCS as an adjunct to gynaecological surgical procedures also using local anaesthesia increases the surgeon’s access to the patients, but impairs safety. Apnoea and other such conditions requiring interventions to restore respiratory function were seen in patients receiving both alfentanil and propofol for PCS. Patients’ experiencing perioperative pain and anxiety did not explain the effect-site concentrations of drugs. Different gynaecological procedures and patients’ weights seemed to best explain the concentrations. For discomfort and pain during the endoscopic procedure (ERCP), propofol PCS performs almost the same as anaesthetist-performed sedation. Overall, as part of the pre-operative procedures, PCS does not seem to be time-consuming. In respect to the perioperative perspective, PCS supports rapid recovery with a low incidence of tiredness, pain, and post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV).

The data suggest that PCS further needs to be adapted to the patient, the specific procedure and the circumstances of sedation for optimal benefit and enhanced safety.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 86 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1423
National Category
Anesthesiology and Intensive Care
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-112372 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-112372 (DOI)978-91-7519-221-5 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-01-23, Berzeliussalen, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-11-24 Created: 2014-11-24 Last updated: 2014-11-24Bibliographically approved

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Nilsson, AndreasNilsson, LenaUstaal, ESjöberg, Folke
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AnesthesiologyFaculty of Health SciencesDepartment of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care in LinköpingDepartment of Anaesthesiology and SurgeryDepartment of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in LinköpingBurn CenterDepartment of Hand and Plastic Surgery
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