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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Comparison of Procedural Sedation for the Reduction of Dislocated Total Hip Arthroplasty


Introduction: Various types of sedation can be used for the reduction of a dislocated total hip arthroplasty. Traditionally, an Opiate/Benzodiazepine combination has been employed. The use of other pharmacologic agents, such as Etomidate and Propofol, has more recently gained popularity. Currently no studies directly comparing these sedation agents have been carried out.  The purpose of this study is to compare differences in reduction and sedation outcomes including recovery times of these three different sedation agents.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed examining 198 patient’s charts who presented with dislocated total hip arthroplasty at two academic affiliated medical centers. The patients were organized into groups according to the type of sedation agent used during their reduction. The percentages of reduction and sedation complications were calculated along with overall recovery times. Reduction complications included fracture, skin or neurovascular injury, and failure of reduction requiring general anesthesia. Sedation complications included use of bag-valve mask and artificial airway, intubation, prolonged recovery, use of a reversal agent, and inability to achieve sedation. The data were then compared for each sedation agent.

Results: The reduction complications rates found were 8.7% in the Propofol group, 24.68% in the Etomidate, and 28.85% in the Opiate/Benzodiazepine groups. The reduction complication rate in the Propofol group was significantly different than those of the other two agents (p≤0.01). Sedation complications were found to happen 7.25% of the time in the Propofol group, 11.69% in the Etomidate group, and 21.25% in the Opiate/ Benzodiazepine group with Propofol having complication rates significantly different than that of the Opiate/Benzodiazepine group (p=0.02). Average lengths of recovery were 25.17 minutes for Propofol, 30.83 minutes for Etomidate, and 44.35 minutes for Opiate/ Benzodiazepine with Propofol averaging a significantly less recovery time than the Opiate/Benzodiazepine group (p=0.05).

Conclusions: For the purpose of reducing a dislocated total hip arthroplasty under conscious sedation, Propofol appears to have fewer complications and a trend of more rapid recovery than both Etomidate and Opiate/Benzodiazepine. Etomidate does appear to have some advantages over Opiate/Benzodiazepine regarding sedation complications and recovery time; however its rate of reduction complications was similar. This preliminary data supports the use of Propofol as the first line agent for procedural sedation of dislocated total hip arthroplasty as it may lead to few complications and shorter stays in the emergency department.

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