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Evaluation of propofol and remifentanil for intravenous sedation for reducing shoulder dislocations in the emergency department
  1. M J G Dunn1,
  2. R Mitchell1,
  3. C D Souza2,
  4. G Drummond2
  1. 1Emergency Department, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2University Department of Anaesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 MrM J G Dunn
 Emergency Department, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France, 51 Little France Crescent, Old Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh, EH16 4SA, UK; dr{at}


Objectives: To assess the combination of propofol and remifentanil for sedation to reduce shoulder dislocations in an ED.

Methods: Eleven patients with anterior glenohumeral dislocation were given propofol 0.5 mg/kg and remifentanil 0.5 μg/kg iv over 90 seconds and then further doses of 0.25 mg/kg and 0.25μg/kg, respectively, if needed. Another practitioner attempted reduction using the Milch technique.

Results: Reduction was achieved in all patients within four minutes of giving sedation (range 0.3–4; mean 1.6). Seven required one attempt at shoulder reduction, three required two attempts, and one required three attempts. Mean time to recovery of alert status was three minutes (range 1–6). The mean pain score during the reduction was 1.7 out of 10 (range 0–5). Nine patients had full recall, one had partial recall, and one had no recall at all. Eight patients were “very satisfied” with the sedation and three were “satisfied”. There were no respiratory or haemodynamic complications that required treatment.

Conclusions: Propofol and remifentanil provide excellent sedation and analgesia for the reduction of anterior glenohumeral dislocation, enabling rapid recovery.

  • ASA, American Society of Anesthesiologists
  • ECG, electrocardiogram
  • ED, emergency department
  • propofol
  • remifentanil
  • conscious sedation
  • shoulder dislocation

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  • Funding: none.

  • Competing interests: none declared.

  • Lothian Research Ethics Committee approval was obtained for this study.

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