Despite considerable controversy over the use of Diprivan® (propofol) for endoscopies without an anesthesiologist present, there were few serious problems in almost 650,000 procedures where trained registered nurses administered the sedation under the direction of the doctor performing the exam.
Only 11 patients needed a tube inserted in their throats to help them breathe, and there were 4 deaths, all of them during upper endoscopies in seriously ill patients. There were no permanent neurological injuries.
Costs for using an anesthesiologist or nurse-anesthetist for all of the studied procedures would have reached nearly $185 million. Read the rest of this entry »