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SEATTLE – (Sept. 12, 2014) –Virginia Mason, a national leader in care quality and patient safety, is using new technology to administer the drug propofol with computerized precision to healthy adult patients undergoing a colonoscopy or upper esophageal endoscopy when they need only minimal to moderate sedation.

Gastroenterologists and registered nurses in the Digestive Disease Institute at Virginia Mason this week began using the SEDASYS Computer-Assisted Personalized Sedation System. It includes a monitoring unit that stays with the patient before the medical procedure, during the procedure and through post-procedure recovery. The clinical team employs this advanced technology to detect signs associated with over-sedation so infusion is automatically reduced or stopped to protect the patient. The system limits the depth of sedation by adjusting drug delivery accordingly. It cannot increase the drug dosage without a physician’s approval.

“Use of this technology is a continuation of our commitment to ensuring quality outcomes and patient safety, and to striving for the perfect patient experience,” said Otto Lin, MD, director, Quality Improvement, Digestive Disease Institute.

Propofol, which is on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines, is often preferred by clinicians and patients because of its rapid onset of sedation and its quick dissipation. This allows for a clearheaded recovery within 10 to 20 minutes. By comparison, it can take patients an hour or more to fully recover from other anesthetics.

Because patients recover quickly from propofol, they are ready to be discharged from the hospital and return to their regular activities sooner. This could increase Virginia Mason’s capacity to perform an increasing number of colonoscopies, which are critical procedures in screening for colorectal cancer.

Colonoscopies and esophagogastroduodenoscopies (EGDs) are typically same-day procedures that do not require the patient to stay overnight in the hospital. It is generally recommended that men and women undergo colon cancer screenings starting at age 50 and those with an average risk for colon cancer undergo a colonoscopy every 10 years. Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, is expected to cause more than 50,000 deaths in the U.S. this year.

In 2013, a total of 9,468 colonoscopies and 4,876 EGDs were performed at Virginia Mason, which is designated as a national high performer in gastroenterology by U.S. News & World Report.

The new medical device at Virginia Mason is a first-to-market technology approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2013. Learn more about the unit on the FDA website:

About Virginia Mason
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs 6,000 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 460 physicians; regional medical centers throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste, lower cost, and improve quality and patient safety. Virginia Mason website:

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Virginia Mason Media Relations
(206) 341-1509

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