Intensive Care Unit Sedation: Propofol
What is Propofol?
Propofol is an sedation agent used in the operating room and intensive care unit that causes patients to relax and sleep. Patients are usually unconscious and, for this reason, it is only given to patients on a breathing machine (mechanical ventilator). Propofol will help relieve anxiety and nervousness and may be used to calm agitated patients.
Why is Propofol important?
Many patients, who require a ventilator to help their breathing, may be anxious and uncomfortable. Propofol can help decrease their agitation and anxiety and make them more comfortable. This will help make them breathe more easily while on the ventilator.
How will the patient look or feel on propofol?
Propofol will cause sedation, so the patient will appear very calm and may look like they are sleeping. Depending on the dose of propofol used, the patient may or may not be able to open his eyes or respond to questions. Propofol also has an amnesia effect, so the patient will not likely remember events that occur while he is receiving this medicine
What are the side effects of propofol?
Propofol causes relatively few side effects. It can cause a decrease in blood pressure, so the patient will be followed closely by the medical staff. Hallucinations or changes in urine color (turns green) are other rare side effects.
How long will propofol be continued?
The length of time the patient needs propofol depends on his medical condition. The medical staff will regularly evaluate if propofol is still needed.
If you have any questions about propofol or other questions relating to the patient’s care, please ask the staff in the intensive care unit.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/14/2013
Copyright © 05/14/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5199
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