Dexmedetomidine Provides Fewer Respiratory Events Compared With Propofol and Fentanyl During Third Molar Surgery: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Patrick J. Nolan, Jeffrey A. Delgadillo, Joseph M. Youssef, Katherine Freeman, Jennifer L. Jones, Arian Chehrehsa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Propofol and fentanyl can cause airway obstruction and respiratory depression when used together for intravenous sedation. This study investigated whether dexmedetomidine and midazolam would decrease respiratory events requiring intervention during deep sedation compared with propofol, fentanyl, and midazolam. Patients and Methods: A prospective, randomized, double-blinded, controlled trial was designed to assess 2 intravenous treatment groups during third molar surgery. Patients were randomized into 2 groups. The control group (group P) received 0.8 μg/kg of fentanyl followed by propofol infusion at 125 μg/kg per minute over a 10-minute period with intraoperative boluses of 0.1 μg/kg. The study group (group D) received dexmedetomidine bolus infusion of 1 μg/kg over a 10-minute period followed by maintenance infusion at 0.5 μg/kg per hour. Both groups were given 0.03 mg/kg of midazolam before infusion. Scorers, masked to group, viewed the procedure remotely and evaluated the primary outcome variable of respiratory events requiring intervention. Secondary outcome variables evaluated by the scorers included the Behavioral Pain Scale for non-intubated patients at initial injection, cooperation score at 5 and 15 minutes, and time to ambulation and discharge. Patient satisfaction and hemodynamic stability were measured. The difference between groups regarding the occurrence of respiratory events was tested using the Fisher exact test, and mixed-effects models were used to compare repeated vital signs. Results: The sample was composed of 141 patients randomly assigned to either group P (n = 67) or group D (n = 74). No statistically significant differences in the distribution of study variables were found between groups at baseline. A statistically significant difference in respiratory events requiring deliberate intervention existed between group P (25.4%) and group D (2.7%) (P <.0001). No statistically significant difference was found between groups for Behavioral Pain Scale score, cooperation score, time to ambulation or discharge, and patient satisfaction. Conclusions: Using dexmedetomidine and midazolam for outpatient surgery resulted in fewer respiratory events requiring deliberate intervention compared with propofol, fentanyl, and midazolam. Ambulation and discharge times were not prolonged using dexmedetomidine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1704-1716
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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