Premedication, Preparation, and Surveillance

G. D. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


The vigorous debate over whom to sedate, when to sedate, and how to sedate shows no sign of running out of steam. There is a general consensus that patients should be more involved in the decision-making process for the sedation “menu”. A move away from the take-it-or-leave-it attitude of all or nothing to an “à la carte” choice is to be encouraged. A new textbook and several further guidelines have appeared. The particular problems associated with sedating the elderly are briefly presented. The pros and cons of using local pharyngeal anaesthesia are discussed. Enthusiasm for the use of intravenous propofol is gathering momentum, despite continuing worries about its safety in the hands of the nonanaesthetist. For many endoscopists, the combination of a benzodiazepine plus (or minus) an opioid with which they are most familiar is still the best compromise in terms of efficacy, cost, and safety. Fatal drug-induced cardiopulmonary complications continue to occur, despite a general trend toward using smaller doses of sedation than we did 5 - 10 years ago. Monitoring techniques that are at present considered as research tools may one day become commonplace. These include: the use of an electroencephalography parameter known as bispectral analysis; transcutaneous CO2 measurement; and a modified continuous capnographic waveform trace to monitor ventilatory effort. Bispectral analysis may be of use in monitoring central nervous system depression and helping to distinguish between conscious sedation and deep sedation. If the measurement of CO2 levels, either transcutaneously or in breath samples, was as easy and inexpensive as measuring SpO2 with a pulse oximeter, then undoubtedly such technology would enhance the early detection of sedative-induced hypoventilation and apnoea. Further evidence regarding droperidol's possible role in conscious sedation is presented. Pain during colonoscopy remains a problem, and the possible role for intraluminal injection of peppermint oil, as well as the value of variable-stiffness colonoscopes, in reducing the need for intravenous sedation is discussed. Case reports of hyponatraemic encephalopathy and hypocalcaemic tetany as complications of oral bowel preparation are presented, as is the challenge associated with adequate bowel preparation in diabetic patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-12
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2002

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