Procedural sedation by advanced practice providers in the emergency medical service in the Netherlands: a retrospective study

Risco van Vliet*, Lennert Breedveld, Annemieke A.J. Heutinck, Bram H.A. Ockeloen, Arnoud W.J. van ’ Hof, Xavier R.J. Moors

*Corresponding author for this work

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Procedural sedation and analgesia (PSA) is a technique of administering sedatives to induce a state that allows the patient to tolerate painful procedures while maintaining cardiorespiratory function, a condition that is frequently desired prehospital. Non-physician prehospital clinicians often have a limited scope of practice when it comes to providing analgesia and sedation; sometimes resulting in a crew request for back-up from physician-staffed prehospital services.“. This is also the case if sedation is desirable. Advanced practice providers (APPs), who are legally authorized and trained to carry out this procedure, may be a solution when the physician-staffed service is not available or will not be available in time. 


The aim of this study is to gain insight in the circumstances in which an APP, working at the Dutch ambulance service “RAV Brabant MWN” from January 2019 to December 2022, uses propofol for PSA or to provide sedation. With this a retrospective observational document study we describe the characteristics of patients and ambulance runs and evaluates the interventions in terms of safety. 


During the study period, the APPs administered propofol 157 times for 135 PSA and in 22 cases for providing sedation. The most common indication was musculoskeletal trauma such as fracture care or the reduction of joint dislocation. In 91% of the situations where propofol was used, the predetermined goal e.g. alignment of fractured extremity, repositioning of luxated joint or providing sedation the goal was achieved. There were 12 cases in which one or more adverse events were documented and all were successfully resolved by the APP. There were no cases of laryngospam, airway obstruction, nor anaphylaxis. None of the adverse events led to unexpected hospitalization or death. 


During the study period, the APPs performed 135 PSAs and provided 22 sedations. The success rate of predetermined goals was higher than that stated in the literature. Although there were a number of side effects, their incidences were lower than those reported in the literature, and these were resolved by the APP during the episode of care. Applying a PSA by an APP at the EMS “RAV Brabant MWN” appears to be safe with a high success rate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalScandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024

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