Deep Sedation


  • When you are given medicine to help your relax and make you very sleepy, it is called deep sedation. The medicines help decrease your worries and make you feel more comfortable. Deep sedation can make you forget painful or unpleasant things that occur during a period of time. Deep sedation may be used during a procedure, or to help your body rest after an accident or injury. During deep sedation, your blood pressure, breathing, heart rate, and temperature are checked often. Your caregiver may ask you questions. While in deep sedation you will react if caregivers shake or poke you.

  • While you are deeply sedated, your heart's function will not change, but you may need help breathing. Monitored anesthesia care (MAC) may be used. With MAC, a caregiver called an anesthesiologist will see that you are breathing as you should during a procedure. MAC may be used along with other medicines during a procedure. Having deep sedation will help keep you relaxed and still before, during, and after a painful treatment, procedure, or surgery. Being deeply sedated also may help your body heal if it is injured.


Take your medicine as directed.

Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Problems that may occur after having deep sedation:

  • You may get a headache after having deep sedation. You may throw up, or the area where shots of medicine were given may be painful. You may be allergic to the medicine, and get itchy skin, watery eyes, and trouble breathing. The medicine might make you forget things that have happened recently. Older adults are at a higher risk of having problems during and after deep sedation is used.

  • There is a higher risk of these and other problems happening during and after having deep sedation if you have heart disease. The risk of problems is also higher if you have lung disease, or if you have had a head injury. If you use street (illegal) drugs, or drink too much alcohol too often, your risk of having problems is greater. Alcohol is found in adult drinks such as beer, wine, and whiskey.

What to do when you go home after having deep sedation:

  • Have an adult drive you home and stay with you. You may feel sleepy, and need help doing things at home. People who have had deep sedation often cannot remember what happened while they were sedated. Talk to your caregiver if you are worried or afraid.

  • Follow your caregiver's advice about making changes to your diet or activities. Do not make important decisions for 24 hours (one day) after having deep sedation. Avoid hard exercise right after having deep sedation. Do not drink alcohol, such as beer and wine.

  • Use ice chips. You may suck or chew small pieces of ice to decrease your need to cough.

  • Use lip balm. Put lip balm on your lips to keep them moist and help prevent them from chapping.


  • You have a cough or a mild headache.

  • You have a fever (high body temperature).

  • You have an upset stomach or start throwing up.

  • You have a new rash on your body.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, medicine, or care.


  • You have a very bad headache.

  • You feel like your heart is beating too fast, or it feels like it is pounding hard.

  • You have sudden trouble breathing.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.