Anesthesia - conscious
Conscious sedation is a combination of medicines to help you relax (a sedative) and to block pain (an anesthetic) during a medical or dental procedure. You will probably stay awake but may not be able to speak.
Conscious sedation lets you recover quickly and return to your everyday activities soon after your procedure.
A nurse, doctor, or dentist, will give you conscious sedation in the hospital or outpatient clinic. Most of the time, it will not be an anesthesiologist. The medicine will wear off quickly, so it is used for short, uncomplicated procedures.
You may receive the medicine through an intravenous line (IV, in a vein) or a shot into a muscle. You will begin to feel drowsy and relaxed very quickly. If your doctor gives you the medicine to swallow, you will feel the effects after about 30 to 60 minutes.
Your breathing will slow down, and your blood pressure may drop a little. Your nurse or doctor will monitor you every 3 to 5 minutes during your procedure to make sure you are okay. This person will stay with you at all times during the procedure.
You should not need help with your breathing, but you may receive extra oxygen through a mask or IV fluids through a catheter (tube) into a vein.
You may fall asleep, but you will wake up easily to respond to people in the room. You may be able to respond to verbal cues. After conscious sedation, you may feel drowsy and not remember much about your procedure.
Conscious sedation is safe and effective for patients who need minor surgery or a procedure to diagnose a condition.
Some of the tests and procedures conscious sedation may be used for are:
Jagannath S, Baron TH, Anderson MA, et al. Sedation and anesthesia in GI endoscopy. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Aug 2008;68(2).
Cohen NA, Stead SW. Moderate sedation for chest physicians. Chest. June 2008;133(6).
Sherwood ER, Williams CG, Prough DS. Anesthesiology principles, pain management, and conscious sedation. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 18.
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