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At the QEII Health Sciences Centre Emergency Department (ED) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, advanced care paramedics (ACPs) perform procedural sedation and analgesia (PSA) for many indications, including orthopedic procedures. We have begun using ACPs as sedationists for emergent upper gastrointestinal (UGI) endoscopy. This study compares ACP-performed ED PSA for UGI endoscopy and orthopedic procedures in terms of adverse events, airway intervention, vasopressor requirement, and PSA medication use.
A data set was built from an ED PSA quality control database matching 61 UGI endoscopy PSAs to 183 orthopedic PSAs by propensity scores calculated using age, gender, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification. Outcomes assessed were hypotension (systolic BP<100 mm Hg or a 15% decrease from baseline), hypoxia (SaO2<90%), apnea (>30 sec), vomiting, arrhythmias, death, airway intervention, vasopressor requirement, and PSA medication use.
UGI endoscopy patients experienced hypotension more frequently than orthopedic patients (OR=4.11, CI: 2.05-8.22) and required airway repositioning less often (OR=0.24, CI: 0.10-0.59). They received ketamine more frequently (OR=15.7, CI: 4.75-67.7) and fentanyl less often (OR=0.30, CI: 0.15-0.63) than orthopedic patients. Four endoscopy patients received phenylephrine, and one required intubation. No patient died in either group.
In ACP-led sedation for UGI endoscopy and orthopedic procedures, adverse events were rare with the notable exception of hypotension, which was more frequent in the endoscopy group. Only endoscopy patients required vasopressor treatment and intubation. We provide preliminary evidence that ACPs can manage ED PSA for emergent UGI endoscopy, although priorities must shift from pain control to hemodynamic optimization.
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