The role of flumazenil in outpatient transesophageal echocardiography

Teresa S.M. Tsang, Marjorie L. Martin, Kent R. Bailey, James B. Seward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Benzodiazepines used for transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) sedation may be associated with postprocedural psychomotor effects that are undesirable. Hypothesis: We hypothesize that flumazenil can reverse cognitive and motor effects from benzodiazepine, promoting earlier return to baseline function. Methods: We prospectively evaluated the cognitive and motor function of patients who did or did not receive flumazenil following TEE. Patients' gait, level of drowsiness, and recall of items learned before and after benzodiazepine administration were evaluated before TEE, as well as immediately and 30 min after the procedure. Results: Of 207 patients (123 men and 84 women), 93 (45%) were given flumazenil 0.2 or 0.4 mg intravenously, and 113 (55%) were not. The baseline characteristics of the patients who received flumazenil were not significantly different from those who did not receive flumazenil, with the exception of a higher mean dosage of midazolam administered to the flumazenil group. In addition, patients in the flumazenil group appeared more drowsy immediately following TEE. When adjusted for age and midazolam dosage, there were no differences, at any time, between the two groups in gait or recall of items learned prior to sedation. However, at 30 min following TEE, the flumazenil group was able to recall a larger number of new items learned immediately after the procedure (1.92/3 vs. 1.61/3, p = 0.02) than did patients in the group not receiving flumazenil. No adverse effects were encountered in any patient. Conclusion: Flumazenil appears safe and effective in reversing anterograde amnesic effects of benzodiazepine following TEE, but has no effects on retrograde amnesia and does not promote earlier return of motor function to baseline. It is useful in clinical situations where high dosages of benzodiazepine have been used and/or excessive drowsiness is evident following TEE. Routine use of the drug, however, is not necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)630-632
Number of pages3
JournalClinical Cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1999


  • Amnesia
  • Benzodiazepine
  • Flumazenil
  • Sedation
  • Transesophageal echocardiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of flumazenil in outpatient transesophageal echocardiography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this