Preliminary Experience With Remimazolam for Procedural Sedation and as an Adjunct to General Anesthesia During Diagnostic and Interventional Cardiac Procedures

Holly Gillis, Christopher McKee, Kristin Chenault, Marco Corridore, Joseph D. Tobias


Background: Remimazolam is a benzodiazepine which, like midazolam, has sedative, anxiolytic, and amnestic properties. Ester metabolism results in a half-life of 5 - 10 min, a limited context sensitive half-life, and rapid recovery when the infusion is discontinued.

Methods: Following the Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, we performed a retrospective chart review of patients who received remimazolam in the cardiac catheterization, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and electrophysiology suites. The primary objective was to assess efficacy and safety. The secondary objective was to describe bolus and infusion dosing of remimazolam and the need for adjunctive agents to optimize procedural sedation conditions.

Results: The study cohort included 26 patients with a median age of 18 years and a total of 33 anesthetic encounters. The most common procedures were endomyocardial biopsy or isolated hemodynamic assessment (right or left heart catheterization). Remimazolam was the primary agent for sedation in 82% of the procedures. The majority of cases (25 encounters, 76%) included a bolus dose of remimazolam prior to the start of an infusion. For those patients who received a starting bolus dose, dosing typically ranged between 30 and 110 g/kg. Continuous infusion rates of remimazolam varied from 5 to 20 g/kg/min. No adverse hemodynamic or respiratory effects were noted. Midazolam, fentanyl, and dexmedetomidine were the most frequently used adjunctive agents. One patient required transition to general anesthesia due to the need for a surgical intervention based on the findings of the cardiac catheterization. All other patients were effectively sedated.

Conclusions: Our preliminary experience demonstrates that remimazolam effectively provided sedation for diagnostic and therapeutic cardiovascular procedures. Future studies are needed to further define dosing parameters for both bolus dosing and continuous infusion as well as to compare remimazolam to other commonly used for procedural sedation in patients with congenital and acquired heart disease.

Cardiol Res. 2024;15(1):12-17


Cardiac catheterization; Remimazolam; Total intravenous anesthesia; Congenital heart disease

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Cardiology Research, bimonthly, ISSN 1923-2829 (print), 1923-2837 (online), published by Elmer Press Inc.                     
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