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Moderate Sedation


What do I need to know about moderate sedation?

Moderate sedation, or conscious sedation, is medicine used during procedures to help you feel relaxed and calm. You will be awake and able to follow directions without anxiety or pain. You will remember little to none of the procedure. Moderate sedation can be used for procedures such as a colonoscopy, wound repair, cataract removal, or dental work. The medicine is given as a pill, shot, inhaled solution, or injection through an IV.

What will happen during moderate sedation?

You may be asked to speak or move around during your procedure. Your healthcare provider may ask you questions that check your memory. He may check your pupils, blood pressure, and heart rate.

What will happen after moderate sedation?

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. You will be monitored closely for any problems. You may not remember what happened during the procedure. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will then be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room. You may need any of the following as the sedation wears off:

  • Extra oxygen may be needed if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask a healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
  • A pulse oximeter measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine. An alarm will sound if your oxygen level is low.
  • A heart monitor , or EKG, will record your heart's electrical activity.

What are the risks of moderate sedation?

  • You may get a headache or nausea from the medicine. You may not remember the recent past. Your skin may itch or your eyes may water. You may not get enough sedation or it may wear off quickly. You may feel restless during the procedure. If the medicine does not wear off as it should, you may need medicine to become more alert.
  • Too much medicine can cause deep sedation. Deep sedation may cause you to need help to breathe. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about deep sedation. Your risk for problems with sedation is higher if you have heart or lung disease, a head injury, or drink alcohol regularly.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have a fever.
  • You have a cough or headache.
  • You have an upset stomach or feel like vomiting.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have sudden trouble breathing.
  • You have a severe headache.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.