Conscious Sedation Feasible for Ambulatory Spine Procedures

No significant difference in adverse event rates with conscious sedation or local anesthesia alone

TUESDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Conscious sedation in the ambulatory interventional spine setting is associated with a low rate of adverse events comparable to that observed with local anesthesia alone, according to a study published in the December issue of The Spine Journal.

Michael K. Schaufele, M.D., of the Emory Orthopedics & Spine Center in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of 2,494 charts detailing ambulatory spine procedures to determine the rate of adverse events when using conscious sedation in the ambulatory interventional spine setting. The rate and type of adverse events were compared for those receiving local anesthesia alone (1,266 procedures) or local anesthesia with conscious sedation (1,228 procedures).

The researchers found that immediate adverse events were seen in 5.12 percent of procedures with conscious sedation and 4.82 percent of procedures with local anesthesia alone. For those patients available at a maximum three-day follow-up, adverse events were noted in 4.77 and 4.00 percent of patients in the conscious sedation and local anesthesia groups, respectively, with no statistically significant difference between the groups. There was a significantly higher rate of postoperative hypertension in those who received local anesthesia only. Adverse events were mild and no serious adverse events were reported.

"The findings of this study suggest that mild to moderate conscious sedation in interventional spine procedures is associated with low rates of adverse events when established protocols are followed," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed financial ties to the medical device industry.

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