Introduction: Acute upper gastrointestinal (UGI) bleeding is a relatively common emergency resulting in death in 6 to 8% of cases. UGI endoscopy is the intervention of choice which requires procedural sedation and analgesia (PSA). The Halifax Infirmary emergency department (ED) performs 1000 PSAs annually, performed by advanced care paramedics (ACPs). This has been shown safe for other indications for PSA, such as orthopedic procedures. Considering that UGI endoscopy involves upper airway manipulation, and patients are at an increased risk of massive bleeding, this procedure would be expected to be more complex and have an increased risk of adverse events (AEs). This study aims to compare PSA for UGI endoscopy performed by ACPs to that for orthopedic procedures for AEs, airway intervention and medication use. Methods: This study is a retrospective review of an ACP-performed ED PSA quality control database. A dataset was built matching 64 UGI endoscopy PSAs to 192 orthopedic PSAs by propensity scores calculated using age, gender and ASA classification. Outcomes assessed were hypotension (SBP < 100, or 15% decrease from baseline), hypoxia (SaO2 < 90), apnea (> 30sec), vomiting, arrhythmias and death in the ED. The need for airway intervention and medication use was assessed. Results: The UGI endoscopy group was 4.60 times more likely to suffer hypotension than the orthopedic group (OR=4.6, CI:2.2-9.6), and a fifth as likely to require airway repositioning (OR=0.2, CI:0.1-0.5). One endoscopy patient required endotracheal intubation. No patient died in either group. Compared to the orthopedic group, the UGI endoscopy group was one-third as likely to receive fentanyl (OR=0.3, CI:0.2-0.6). When fentanyl was administered, endoscopy patients received an average 26.7 mcg less than orthopedic patients. The endoscopy group was 15.4 times more likely to receive ketamine (OR=15.4, CI:4.7-66.5), and received 34.4 mg less on average. Four endoscopy patients received phenylephrine compared to none in the orthopedic group. There were no other differences. Conclusion: ED PSA for UGI endoscopy appears to differ significantly from that performed for orthopedic procedures. It was associated with more frequent hypotension and increased use of ketamine as a sedative. Patients undergoing UGI endoscopy were less likely to receive fentanyl and require airway repositioning. Only patients in the endoscopy group required intubation or a vasopressor agent.
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