Safe combined intravenous opiate/benzodiazepine sedation for transoesophageal echocardiography

Br J Cardiol 2010;17:125-7 Leave a comment
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There is much debate about the optimal sedation strategy for transoesophageal echocardiography (TEE). Despite previous studies demonstrating the potential benefits of combining opiates and benzodiazepines for conscious sedation, and previous published national surveys and recommendations, sedation practice for TEE in clinical practice varies widely within the UK. All UK centres routinely use midazolam, but only 7% of centres use it in combination with an opiate: 14% of hospitals report no routine use of sedation for TEE. There
is no British Society of Echocardiography (BSE) recommended TEE sedation protocol within the UK and even where guidelines exist locally, 82% of operators report being unaware of their details. Consequently, a wide range of sedative doses are used and many patients are reported to be over-sedated. We developed a new protocol for conscious sedation using intravenous pethidine and midazolam for TEE and have shown it to be safe and effective when implemented within an existing TEE service.

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