Adverse events in a multicenter phase IV study of propofol: evaluation by anesthesiologists and postanesthesia care unit nurses

Publication: Anesth Analg
Division: Cognigen


Phase II and III studies are tightly controlled trials investigating adverse effects before government approval of a new drug. However, because postapproval Phase IV studies involve a much larger and more complex population, the true nature of adverse effects can be seen. We analyzed Phase IV data for the new drug propofol with regard to the incidence of adverse events, and evaluations of such events by anesthesiologists versus postanesthesia care unit (PACU) nurses. Data pertained to 25,981 patients, 1722 institutions, and 1819 anesthesiologists giving propofol in three anesthetic regimens. Inclusion criteria were liberal: age, 18-80 yr; ASA physical status I-III; no continuing pregnancy; and no prior adverse anesthetic experience. Anesthesiologists and PACU nurses used data collection forms to record demographic, perioperative, and outcome variables; to evaluate recovery (excellent, good, or poor); and to describe adverse events. Adverse events were reported for 2813 patients (10.8%); the most common events were pain on injection (5.2%), hypotension (1.1%), nausea/vomiting (1.9%), and excitement (1.3%). The incidences of pain on injection and nausea/vomiting were approximately one-half and one-fifth, respectively, the values reported in earlier studies. Six hundred thirty-three patients (2.4%) had a “poor” recovery according to one or both of the evaluators (the anesthesiologist or PACU nurse). The PACU nurse was more influenced by nausea, vomiting, or postoperative pain; and the anesthesiologist was more influenced by postoperative confusion or delayed emergence from anesthesia. For only 0.6% of patients did both evaluators rate recovery as poor. Anesthesiologists gave more weight to intraoperative adverse events, and nurses to postoperative events.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

By McLeskey CH, Cynthia Walawander, Nahrwold ML, Roizen MF, Stanley TH, Thisted RA, White PF, Apfelbaum JL, Thaddeus H Grasela, Hug CC Jr.