During middle-ear-surgery under local anaesthesia (MES-LA), patients report hearing noises, feeling anxious, and experiencing earache. In a prospective randomized clinical trial, we compared propofol and midazolam for sedation in 68 patients scheduled for MES-LA. The starting dose of propofol was 1 to 1.5 mg per kilogram intravenously, followed by 1 to 2 mg per kilogram per hour given by infusion. The starting dose of midazolam was 0.02 to 0.05 mg per kilogram intravenously, followed by 0.01 to 0.02 mg per kilogram intravenously. Metamizol and fentanyl were added when required. Sedation was titrated to a Ramsay score of 3 to 4 and a bispectral index value of 70 to 80. Patients were assessed for vital parameters and sedation and pain scores. In the recovery room, readiness for discharge and satisfaction of both patient and surgeon with the procedure were assessed. The group receiving propofol had a significantly lower heart rate, shorter duration of sedation, and earlier readiness for discharge (p<0.05). There were no significant differences in other parameters evaluated. Seventy-nine per cent of patients in the group receiving propofol and 91.1% receiving midazolam would choose the same method of anaesthesia and sedation for any further MES-LA. Our results suggest that, compared to midazolam, propofol is more suitable for sedation in patients undergoing MES-LA. However, appropriate patient selection, adequate preparation, and careful monitoring are mandatory.
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