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Retrospective Evaluation of the Procedural Sedation Practices of Expert Nurses During Abortion Care



To evaluate the provision of procedural sedation during abortion by expert nurses and to describe the factors that are associated with time to discharge for women who receive this sedation.


Retrospective chart review.


Descriptive statistics were generated to describe a retrospective cohort of women presenting for abortion under procedural sedation. Analysis of variance was used to determine significant characteristics that influenced time to discharge.


A single clinical site that employs seven expert nurses.


A total of 194 medical records were available for this analysis.


All women were discharged home with accompaniment, and no incidents of respiratory distress or other adverse complications occurred. Most women (n = 136) received at least 150 μg fentanyl and 3 mg midazolam, and 71% of women in the first trimester and 83% of women in the second trimester entered the recovery area with no pain. Variables significantly associated with time spent in the recovery area were gestational age at time of abortion (t = -2.68, p = .008), pain at entry to recovery area (t = -0.254, p = .008), and pain at 15 minutes (t = 0.25, p = .038).


Expert nurses can administer procedural sedation for pain control associated with abortion and are capable of monitoring women and helping them return to baseline status after the procedure.

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