Preparation, Premedication, and Surveillance

G. D. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


The main criteria for assessing conscious sedation (perhaps now more correctly termed ”moderate sedation/analgesia”) continue to be patient satisfaction and comfort, short duration, amnesia, and above all, patient safety. The problems reviewed last year - including the increasing pressure on endoscopy units to perform yet more procedures, reduce costs, and achieve shorter patient turn-around times - certainly have not gone away. Studies reviewed this year suggest that although many endoscopic procedures, such as oesophagogastroduodenoscopy (OGD), colonoscopy, and endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) can indeed be performed without intravenous sedation, many patients still prefer to be sedated. Further papers on the possible role of ultrathin endoscopes in unsedated OGD are reviewed here. A study in Italy comparing virtual computed-tomographic (CT) colonography and conventional colonoscopy suggests that unsedated colonoscopy is unlikely to meet with wide acceptance. Audits of colonoscopy in both the United States and the United Kingdom suggest that there is still a long way to go before caecal intubation rates of more than 90 % are regularly attained. The evidence suggests that some endoscopists are using larger doses of a midazolam and pethidine combination than are generally recommended (particularly in elderly patients), and sedation-related deaths are still occurring. Impressively large clinical studies, particularly those from Switzerland, on the use of propofol administered by nonanaesthetists are leading to reconsideration of the earlier view that propofol should only be used by anaesthetists. If propofol is to be used more widely and become an agent administered by endoscopists (or nursing staff), then considerable improvements in the standard of airways management will be needed. Several new studies relating to bowel-cleansing agents and the use of a carbohydrate/electrolyte ”cholera mixture” to prevent the associated intravascular volume contraction have been published. Warm water is a cheap and effective way of reducing colonic spasm during colonoscopy, and intraluminal peppermint oil is a good antispasmodic in the stomach as well as the colon. Sedation should still be regarded as one part of an overall ”endoscopy package”. Finally, more attention needs to be given to patients' complaints regarding what are often considered by endoscopists to be ”trivial complications” if the patients are to have a positive experience of their examination that will lead to them being prepared to come back a second time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004

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