A randomized controlled trial evaluating general endotracheal anesthesia versus monitored anesthesia care and the incidence of sedation-related adverse events during ERCP in high-risk patients

Published:September 11, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gie.2018.09.001

      Background and Aims

      ERCP is a complex procedure often performed in patients at high risk for sedation-related adverse events (SRAEs). However, there is no current standard of care with regard to mode of sedation and airway management during ERCP. The aim of this study was to assess the safety of general endotracheal anesthesia (GEA) versus propofol-based monitored anesthesia care (MAC) without endotracheal intubation in patients undergoing ERCP at high risk for SRAEs.


      Consecutive patients undergoing ERCP at high risk for SRAEs at a single center were invited to participate in this randomized controlled trial comparing GEA and MAC. Inclusion criteria were STOP-BANG score ≥3, abdominal ascites, body mass index ≥35, chronic lung disease, American Society of Anesthesiologists class >3, Mallampati class 4 airway, and moderate to heavy alcohol use. Exclusion criteria were preceding EUS, emergent ERCP, tracheostomy, unstable airway, gastric outlet obstruction or delayed gastric emptying, and altered foregut anatomy. The primary endpoint was composite incidence of SRAEs: hypoxemia, use of airway maneuvers, hypotension requiring vasopressors, sedation-related procedure interruption, cardiac arrhythmia, and respiratory failure. Secondary outcomes included procedure duration, cannulation success, in-room time, and immediate adverse events.


      Two hundred patients (mean age, 61.1 ± 13.6 years; 36.5% women) were randomly assigned to GEA (n = 101) or MAC (n = 99) groups. Composite SRAEs were significantly higher in the MAC group compared with the GEA group (51.5% vs 9.9%, P < .001). This was primarily driven by the frequent need for airway maneuvers in the MAC group. Additionally, ERCP was interrupted in 10.1% of patients in the MAC group to convert to GEA because of respiratory instability refractory to airway maneuvers (n = 8) or significant retained gastric contents (n = 2). There were no statistically significant differences in cannulation, in-room, procedure, or fluoroscopy times between the 2 groups. All patients undergoing GEA were successfully extubated in the procedure room at completion of ERCP, and Aldrete scores in recovery did not differ between the 2 groups. There were no immediate adverse events.


      In patients at high risk for SRAEs undergoing ERCP, sedation with GEA is associated with a significantly lower incidence of SRAEs, without impacting procedure duration, success, recovery, or in-room time. These data suggest that GEA should be used for ERCP in patients at high risk for SRAEs (Clinical trial registration number: NCT02850887.)


      ASA (American Society of Anesthesiologists), BMI (body mass index), GEA (general endotracheal anesthesia), MAC (monitored anesthesia care), OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), PRAE (procedure-related adverse event), SRAE (sedation-related adverse event)
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