Cardiopulmonary risk of esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Role of endoscope diameter and systemic sedation

David A. Lieberman, Christopher K. Wuerker, Ronald M. Katon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

225 Scopus citations


The impact of endoscope diameter and the presence of systemic sedation on the cardiopulmonary risk of esophagogastroduodenoscopy was investigated. One hundred and forty-six patients undergoing elective esophagogastroduodenoscopy were randomly assigned to one of three groups which differed in either endoscope diameter or use of sedation: group 1 (8.5-mm endoscope with no sedation), group 2 (8.5-mm endoscope with diazepam), and group 3 (11.5-mm endoscope with diazepam). Esophagogastroduodenoscopy was tolerated best by group 2, and this group had the fewest electrocardiographic changes observed on a Holter recording during esophagogastroduodenoscopy. The incidence of electrocardiographic changes during esophagogastroduodenoscopy correlated with patient tolerance (p < 0.001) and the use of the smaller endoscope (p < 0.05). The most common arrhythmia was sinus tachycardia (49 patients), but more serious electrocardiographic changes were observed in 21 patients. Serious arrhythmias were more common in patients with a prior history of cardiovascular disease compared with patients with no such history (30% vs. 6%, p < 0.001). Arterial oxygen desaturation (measured by ear oximetry) during intubation and esophagogastroduodenoscopy was usually modest (2%-5%). However, 16 patients receiving diazepam experienced high levels of desaturation exceeding 7%; this small group of patients also experienced more electrocardiographic changes than other patients. The use of diazepam sedation and an 8.5-mm endoscope may offer the safest and most comfortable combination for most patients undergoing esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Diazepam sedation, however, may represent a potential danger to a small number of patients with marginal baseline arterial saturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-472
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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