Because sedation is a continuum, it is not always possible to predict how an individual patient
will respond. Due to the potential for rapid, profound changes in sedative/anesthetic depth and
the lack of antagonist medications, agents such as propofol require special attention. Even if
moderate sedation is intended, patients receiving propofol should receive care consistent with that
required for deep sedation.
The Society believes that the involvement of an anesthesiologist in the care of every patient
who administer propofol should be qualified to rescue* patients whose level of sedation becomes
deeper than initially intended and who enter, if briefly, a state of general anesthesia.**
training to manage the potential medical complications of sedation/anesthesia. The physician
should be proficient in airway management, have advanced life support skills appropriate for
the patient population, and understand the pharmacology of the drugs used.
The physician should be physically present throughout the sedation and remain immediately
available until the patient is medically
discharged from the post procedure recovery area.
The practitioner administering propofol for sedation/anesthesia should, at a minimum, have
the education and training to identify and manage the airway and cardiovascular changes
which occur in a patient who enters a state of general anesthesia, as well as the ability to
assist in the management of complications.
The practitioner monitoring the patient should be present throughout the procedure and be
completely dedicated to that task.
During the administration of propofol, patients should be monitored without interruption to
airway obstruction and/or oxygen desaturation. Ventilation, oxygen saturation, heart rate and
blood pressure should be monitored at regular and frequent intervals. Monitoring for the
presence of exhaled carbon dioxide should be utilized unless invalidated by the nature of the
patient, procedure or equipment because movement of the chest will not dependably identify
airway obstruction or apnea.
Age-appropriate equipment must be immediately available for the maintenance of a patent
is consistent with the principles set forth in this statement.
The Warnings section of the drug’s package insert (Diprivan®, AstraZeneca 08/05, accessed
trained in the administration of general anesthesia and not involved in the conduct of the
surgical/diagnostic procedure.” Patients should be continuously monitored, and facilities for
resuscitation must be immediately available.”
In addition, some states have prescriptive regulations concerning the administration of propofol.
patients in a critical care setting.
Similar concerns apply when other intravenous induction agents such as methohexital or
analgesics may increase the likelihood of adverse outcomes.
For additional information on the continuum of sedation and on sedation by non-
“Continuum of Depth of Sedation: Definition of General Anesthesia and Levels of
Sedation/Analgesia” and “Practice Guidelines for Sedation and Analgesia by Non-
Anesthesiologists”, ”Statement on Granting Privileges for Administration of Moderate Sedation
to Practitioners Who Are Not Anesthesia Professionals”, and “Statement on Granting Privileges
to Non-Anesthesiologist Practitioners for Personally Administering Deep Sedation or Supervising
Deep Sedation by Individuals Who Are Not Anesthesia Professionals”. ASA’s documents that
address additional perioperative care issues are the “Guidelines for Office-Based Anesthesia,”
“Guidelines for Ambulatory Anesthesia and Surgery” and “Practice Guidelines for Preoperative
Fasting and the Use of Pharmacologic Agents to Reduce the Risk of Pulmonary Aspiration.” All
ASA documents can be found on the Web site, .
* Rescue of a patient from a deeper level of sedation than intended is an intervention by a
practitioner proficient in airway management and advanced life support. The qualified
practitioner corrects adverse physiologic consequences of the deeper-than-intended level of
sedation (such as hypoventilation, hypoxia and hypotension) and returns the patient to the
originally intended level. It is not appropriate to continue the procedure at an unintended level
** The statement in the AANA-ASA Joint Statement Regarding Propofol Administration,
specific language in the propofol package insert, and failure to follow these