Coalition Publishes Issue Brief Addressing Safety Protocols for Administering Propofol to Patients during Colonoscopy Screenings

Jan 28, 2010, 15:04 ET from National Coalition for Quality Colorectal Cancer Screening and Care

With recent reports addressing both the benefits and abuse of propofol, national standards must be followed to optimize clinical outcomes

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Coalition for Quality Colorectal Cancer Screening and Care (also known as Preventing Colorectal Cancer.Org), a nonprofit organization, encourages public policymakers and others to participate in a well-rounded and objective discussion regarding how and when propofol/Diprivan (propofol) should be administered for endoscopic sedation.  With recent reports addressing both the benefits and abuse of propofol, including singer Michael Jackson's death, the Coalition Board recommends that national standards be established and followed to protect patients and optimize clinical outcomes.

"Patient safety should be the top priority in all discussions related to colon cancer screening.  Current guidelines and nationally accepted standards require that the administration of propofol be administered by properly-trained personnel," comments Dr. Steven Morris, MD JD FACP FACG, Coalition Board Chairperson and CEO of Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates, LLC.  As one example, he notes that "Anesthesiologist-directed sedation for endoscopic procedures is the current best practice and should become a uniform standard of care."

Dr. Stanford Plavin, Coalition Board Vice Chairperson and managing partner of Ambulatory Anesthesia of Atlanta, P.C. elaborates that "Most efforts to discredit Anesthesiologist-directed sedation fail to adequately distinguish and correlate the pharmacological impact of propofol with other sedatives.  The reality is that propofol can be dispensed in a number of ways and with a combination of other sedatives.  There also is a big difference in "moderate" (aka "conscious") sedation and deep (aka "unconscious") sedation where the patient is not aware of his or her surroundings.  In all cases, patient complications can arise, and it is imperative that appropriate licensed and trained providers are on hand to rescue any patient that is in distress."

Mark L. Casner, Chief Executive Officer of Safe Sedation adds that "Several recent studies indicate that when patients undergoing a colonoscopy are placed under monitored anesthesia care, the procedure generates a higher number of polyps detected and removed.  These findings highlight a major advantage of Anesthesiologist-directed sedation.  In contrast, several other studies, with serious methodological flaws, have touted the safety and cost savings of using non-anesthesiologists to oversee propofol sedation.  Clearly, this is not the case and more studies need to be completed that objectively assess the efficacy of different approaches to propofol sedation." Casner joined the Coalition Board last month, and Safe Sedation co-founded the organization several years ago.  

The Coalition strongly supports the use of propofol as an anesthetic agent in conjunction with colonoscopy screenings; and in such cases, patient safety and quality-based practices are supported when Board-certified Anesthesiologists (MDs) or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are dispensing the sedative and monitoring the patient throughout the procedure.

This issue brief entitled, "Coalition Statement Regarding the Administration of Propofol by Clinical Personnel in The Absence of Anesthesiologists or CRNAs," can be downloaded at  

About the Coalition.  Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, the National Coalition for Quality Colorectal Cancer Screening & Care (aka PreventingColorectalCancer.Org) preserves the tradition of safe, comfortable and quality-based medicine.  The Coalition is a nonprofit 501(c)6 advocacy organization with its primary mission to educate both public and private stakeholders about the opportunities to reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer through promoting effective screening, prevention and care options for patients.  For more information, you can reach the Coalition at (410) 777-5310 or visit  

SOURCE National Coalition for Quality Colorectal Cancer Screening and Care