Physician anesthesiologist at Stanford at Associated Anesthesiologists Medical Group
Richard Novak, MD is a Stanford physician board certified in anesthesiology and internal medicine.Dr. Novak is an Adjunct Clinical Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Stanford University, the Medical Director at Waverley Surgery Center in Palo Alto, California, and a member of the Associated Anesthesiologists Medical Group in Palo Alto, California.

PubMed is most important medical website on the Internet. If you’re a layperson seeking practical and accurate medical knowledge, you need PubMed. If you’re a medical professional seeking state-of-the-art information from the medical literature, you need PubMed.

PubMed is most important medical website on the Internet.

If you’re a layperson seeking practical and accurate medical knowledge, you need PubMed.

If you’re a medical professional seeking state-of-the-art information from the medical literature, you need PubMed.

There are tens of thousands of medical websites. Some offer truthful, reliable information. Other websites are authored by less reputable sources and can be deceptive. PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) is a free search engine accessing primarily the MEDLINE database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. The United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health maintains the database. PubMed comprises more than 24 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.

PubMed is to medical information what Google is to Internet information. Every article published in a reputable medical journal is listed in PubMed, and every article is accessible and discoverable by keywords. The keyword can be an author’s name, a journal name, or most commonly, a medical topic.

For example, if you are interested in information about propofol use for colonoscopy, you would enter PROPOFOL, COLONOSCOPY into the PubMed search window. A list of 253 abstracts of medical journal articles appears in seconds. The abstracts are listed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent listed first. By perusing the 253 abstracts, you’ll have an overview of what peer-reviewed researchers have published on the topic.

This is the first abstract listed under PROPOFOL, COLONOSCOPY:

Gastrointest Endosc. 2015 Apr 4. pii: S0016-5107(15)00058-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2015.01.041. [Epub ahead of print]

Practice patterns of sedation for colonoscopy.

Childers RE1Williams JL1Sonnenberg A1.

Author information



Sedative and analgesic medications have been used routinely for decades to provide patient comfort, reduce procedure time, and improve examination quality during colonoscopy.


To evaluate trends of sedation during colonoscopy in the United States.


Endoscopic data repository of U.S. gastroenterology practices (Clinical Outcomes Research Initiative, CORI database from 2000 until 2013).


The study population was made up of patients undergoing a total of 1,385,436 colonoscopies.


Colonoscopy without any intervention or with mucosal biopsy, polypectomy, various means of hemostasis, luminal dilation, stent placement, or ablation.


Dose of midazolam, diazepam, fentanyl, meperidine, diphenhydramine, promethazine, and propofol used for sedation during colonoscopy.


During the past 14 years, midazolam, fentanyl, and propofol have become the most commonly used sedatives for colonoscopy. Except for benzodiazepines, which were dosed higher in women than men, equal doses of sedation were given to female and male patients. White patients were given higher doses than other ethnic groups undergoing sedation for colonoscopy. Except for histamine-1 receptor antagonists, all sedative medications were given at lower doses to patients with increasing age. The dose of sedatives was higher in colonoscopies associated with procedural interventions or of long duration.


Potential for incomplete or incorrect documentation in the database.


The findings reflect on colonoscopy practice in the United States during the last 14 years and provide an incentive for future research on how sex and ethnicity influence sedation practices.

A similar abstract precedes almost every medical journal article in its original publication format. PubMed catalogs these abstracts for readers. The original medical journal articles with the full text of the study are rarely available online. Libraries, individual scientists, and physicians subscribe to the actual journals. With PubMed, the summaries of articles published in journals are available to all readers on the Internet for free.

Prior to the Internet, researching medical topics was a tedious and difficult process requiring many hours of paging through hard copies of medical journals stored in university medical libraries. I subscribed to top journals in my specialties, e.g. the New England Journal of Medicine, or Anesthesiology. I read these journals weekly, tore out the pages of the most important articles, and stored these in a file cabinet in my office.

With PubMed, those days are gone.

I utilize PubMed almost every day in researching clinical problems for patient care, preparing lectures, writing articles, and authoring this website. If you’re a medical professional, I recommend you rely on PubMed for the same reasons.

If you’re a layperson, Google will often direct you to medical information websites such as WebMD, HealthCentral, or Wikipedia. I recommend you set a bookmark for PubMed. Laypeople can understand most of the terminology in PubMed. If you have difficulty, I recommend you Google the words you are puzzled with, and continue to increase your knowledge base as you read on.

There’s an enormous, vivid world of medical data out there. Get on the PubMed train and keep educating yourself!


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Learn more about Rick Novak’s fiction writing at ricknovak.com by clicking on the picture below: