Adverse Effects

The dose of propofol should be reduced in older patients; however, it does have a relatively linear dose-response characteristic, and patients generally can be safely titrated. The pain on injection, especially when small veins are used, can be considerably reduced if li-docaine 20 mg is administered first.

Anesthesia induction with propofol causes a significant reduction in blood pressure that is proportional to the severity of cardiovascular disease or the volume status of the patient, or both. However, even in healthy patients a significant reduction in systolic and mean arterial blood pressure occurs. The reduction in pressure appears to be associated with vasodilation and myo-cardial depression. Although propofol decreases systemic vascular resistance, reflex tachycardia is not observed. This is in contrast to the actions of thiopental. The heart rate stabilization produced by propofol relative to other agents is likely the result of either resetting or inhibiting the baroreflex, thus reducing the tachy-cardic response to hypotension.

Since propofol does not depress the hemodynamic response to laryngoscopy and intubation, its use may permit wide swings in blood pressure at the time of induction of anesthesia. Propofol should be used with utmost caution in patients with cardiac disease.

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