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The Safety of Nurse-Administered Procedural Sedation Compared to Anesthesia Care in a Historical Cohort of Advanced Endoscopy Patients

Guimaraes, Emily S. MD*†; Campbell, Emily J. MPH; Richter, James M. MD, MA†‡

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000000258
Patient Safety: Research Report

BACKGROUND: In April 2010, in response to a change in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulation placing deep sedation under hospital anesthesia services, our institution began providing anesthesia care for all advanced endoscopic procedures. Because it remains unknown whether anesthesia care reduces sedation-related complications or improves quality of care versus nurse-administered sedation for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and endoscopic ultrasound patients, we retrospectively compared complications in a 5-year historical cohort before and after the policy change.

METHODS: We reviewed a historical cohort of 9598 consecutive endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and endoscopic ultrasound examinations for adult patients at a single institution during a 5-year period (October 2007–October 2012). We compared procedures performed before and after the policy change for the incidence of sedation, endoscopic, and total complications, and for major morbidity and mortality.

RESULTS: The incidence of reported sedation-related complications was 0.38% (17 of 4514) before the policy change and 0.08% (4 of 5084) after the policy change, which was statistically significant (P = 0.002, diff = 0.3, 95% confidence interval, 0.11%–0.53%). Endoscopic complications were not significantly different before versus after: 0.66% vs 0.87% (P = 0.293, diff = 0.2, 95% confidence interval, −0.16% to 0.56%). Total complications (1.11% vs 1.00%, P = 0.618) and major morbidity and mortality (0.27% vs 0.33%, P = 0.581) did not differ between the 2 time periods.

CONCLUSIONS: Anesthesia care for advanced endoscopy in a high-risk population significantly reduced sedation complications compared with nurse-administered sedation. Endoscopic complications were unchanged. The sedation risk reduction did not reduce major morbidity, mortality, or total complications.

Published ahead of print May 23, 2014.

From the *Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Management, Massachusetts General Hospital; Harvard Medical School; and Division of Gastroenterology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Accepted for publication February 18, 2014.

Published ahead of print May 23, 2014.

Funding: N/A.

Conflicts of Interest: See Disclosures at the end of the article.

Reprints will not be available from the authors.

Address correspondence to James M. Richter, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St., Blake 4. Address e-mail to

© 2014 International Anesthesia Research Society