Etomidate, a commonly used anesthetic was associated with a substantially increased risk for 30-day mortality, cardiovascular morbidity, and prolonged hospital stay, according to study results in the current issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia

The findings, described by the authors as “striking and troubling,” are sufficient enough that clinicians should use etomidate judiciously, considering that improved hemodynamic stability at induction may be accompanied by substantially worse long-term outcomes, according to the authors.

For the study, the team compared about 2,100 patients who received etomidate and about 5,200 patients who received another intravenous anesthetic called propofol. Those who received etomidate had a significantly higher risk of death within 30 days after surgery, as compared to those who received propofol. Patients in the etomidate group also had a 50% higher risk of major cardiovascular problems than those in the propofol group, according to the study.