Infectious disease risk associated with contaminated propofol anesthesia, 1989-2014

Andrés Zorrilla-Vaca, Jimmy J. Arevalo, Kevin Escandón-Vargas, Daniel Soltanifar, Marek A. Mirski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Administration of propofol, the most frequently used intravenous anesthetic worldwide, has been associated with several iatrogenic infections despite its relative safety. Little is known regarding the global epidemiology of propofol-related outbreaks and the effectiveness of existing preventive strategies. In this overview of the evidence of propofol as a source of infection and appraisal of preventive strategies, we identified 58 studies through a literature search in PubMed, Embase, and Lilacs for propofol-related infections during 1989-2014. Twenty propofol-related outbreaks have been reported, affecting 144 patients and resulting in 10 deaths. Related factors included reuse of syringes for multiple patients and prolonged exposure to the environment when vials were left open. The addition of antimicrobial drugs to the emulsion has been instituted in some countries, but outbreaks have still occurred. There remains a lack of comprehensive information on the effectiveness of measures to prevent future outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-992
Number of pages12
JournalEmerging infectious diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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