Is propofol safe when administered to cirrhotic patients during sedative endoscopy?

Sang Jun Suh, Hyung Joon Yim, Eileen L. Yoon, Beom Jae Lee, Jong Jin Hyun, Sung Woo Jung, Ja Seol Koo, Ji Hoon Kim, Kyung Jin Kim, Rok Son Choung, Yeon Seok Seo, Jong Eun Yeon, Soon Ho Um, Kwan Soo Byun, Sang Woo Lee, Jai Hyun Choi, Ho Sang Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: In patients with liver cirrhosis, drugs acting on the central nervous system can lead to hepatic encephalopathy and the effects may be prolonged. Recently, misuse of propofol has been reported and the associated risk of death have become an issue. Propofol is commonly used during sedative endoscopy; therefore, its safety in high-risk groups must be further investigated. We performed a pilot study of the safety and efficacy of propofol during endoscopy in Korean patients with cirrhosis. Methods: Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy was performed under sedation with propofol along with careful monitoring in 20 patients with liver cirrhosis and 20 control subjects. The presence or development of hepatic encephalopathy was assessed using the number connection test and neurologic examination. Results: Neither respiratory depression nor clinically significant hypotension were observed. Immediate postanesthetic recovery at 5 and 10 minutes after the procedure was delayed in the cirrhotic patients compared with the control group; however, at 30 minutes, the postanesthetic recovery was similar in both groups. Baseline psychomotor performance was more impaired in cirrhotic patients, but propofol was not associated with deteriorated psychomotor function even in cirrhotic patients with a minimal hepatic encephalopathy. Conclusions: Sedation with propofol was well tolerated in cirrhotic patients. No newly developed hepatic encephalopathy was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalKorean Journal of Internal Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan
Externally publishedYes


  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Propofol
  • Sedative endoscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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