Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sedasys is DEAD!

In one of the greatest victories for patients and physician anesthesiologists so far this year, Johnson and Johnson has announced that it is no longer selling the Sedasys system for automated propofol sedation. The machine never lived up to the company's sales expectations. Its elimination is part of J&J's corporate restructuring that will cost company 3,000 jobs.

Anesthesia is not just about pushing drugs. Sedating patients is more than filling up a large syringe of medication and waiting for the procedurist to tell us when to put patients to sleep. Physician anesthesiologists have been at the forefront of patient safety for a century and no machine is going to be replace our vigilance in keeping patients safe during a procedure.

The physicians who were hoping to benefit the most from Sedasys, the gastroenterologists, should get down on their knees and thank the powers above that they will no longer have the machine to play around with. It was only just a matter of time before one of them got into serious airway trouble using a drug most of them are unfamiliar with. And physician anesthesiologists may not always be around to save their ass.

I have always been skeptical of the potential monetary savings from Sedasys. The risks a patient faces when being given a powerful anesthetic by an uncaring, unfeeling box of circuit boards does not justify the minuscule cost savings hoped for by its advocates. The GI doctors who were pushing for the approval of Sedasys the hardest from the FDA will now just have to go back and learn to play nice with the physician anesthesiologists who are making sure their patients survive their procedures in relative safety and comfort.

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