Propofol sedation is increasingly being used for endoscopy in the outpatient setting.
In view of the agent's short period of action, current recommendations that patients should avoid driving for 24 hours may be too strict.
Dr Riphaus and colleagues from Germany assessed psychomotor recovery and driving skills before and after sedation.
A total of 100 patients undergoing routine upper or lower gastrointestinal endoscopy were randomly sedated
|96 patients completed the 2-hour post-sedation procedure|
The patients were sedated either with propofol alone or with midazolam plus pethidine.
The research team evaluated the recovery time and quality of recovery.
Psychomotor recovery was evaluated using the number connection test, and a driving simulator test 1 hour before and 2 hours after the endoscopic procedure.
The team reported that 96 patients completed the 2-hour post-sedation procedure.
Vital signs were recorded, and no clinically relevant complications occurred.
The researchers found that the mean recovery time, and quality of recovery were significantly better after propofol sedation.
Psychomotor and driving skills after propofol sedation were similar to the baseline results.
However, the team observed that in the midazolam/pethidine group, patients showed more lane deviations, and time over the speed limit.
Patients in the midazolam/pethidine group also missed stoplights more often, and had slower reaction times for unexpected events.
The team noted that the time needed to complete the number connection test after sedation did not differ between the 2 groups.
Dr Riphaus' team commented, “Current recommendations that patients should refrain from driving and unescorted use of public transport for 24 hours after sedation may need to be reconsidered in patients who receive propofol sedation.”