Guide to moderate sedation

November 12, 2012

Guide to moderate sedation

Moderate sedation is commonly used during minor surgeries and procedures to help the patient to relax whilst remaining awake and cooperative.

What is moderate sedation?

Previously known as conscious sedation, moderate sedation is often used during simple procedures when the patient needs something to help them relax and remain calm during the procedure. The patient stays awake throughout and is able to respond and cooperate to any instructions or questions that may be given. Both the breathing and heart rate will remain unaffected.

Minor surgeries during which moderate sedation may be used

  • Biopsy such as those that involve removing a section of tissue from an area of the body such as the breast, which is then sent to a lab for testing.

  • Cataract removal, necessary when the vision becomes blurred, cloudy and hazy.

  • Fracture repair may require moderate sedation.

  • Joint repair is sometimes necessary to treat injury sustained from an accident or a fall. In order to allow the doctor to put a joint back that has fallen out of place may require moderate sedation of the patient.

  • Incision and drainage, refers to a minor surgery in which pus is drained from an area, in which it has been building up.

  • Wound repair, such as cleaning or stitching up and open wound.

Procedures during which moderate sedation may be used

  • Bronchoscopy performed to take a look inside the lungs and airway using a scope entering the lungs through the mouth.

  • Colonoscopy, used to look inside the colon, entering through the anus.

  • Endoscopy, performed in order to look inside the digestive tract, which includes the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, intestines and rectum.

  • Thoracoscopy, used to look inside the chest.

  • Cardioversion, a procedure in which the heart is given a small electric shock to encourage the heart to beat normally.

  • Cardiac catherization performed in order to identify and treat the cause of a heart condition.

  • Dental procedures such as a root canal may call for the patient to be moderately sedated.

  • Removal of a foreign body such as a coin, nut or battery stuck in a location such as the ear, nose or throat.

  • Lumbar puncture, in which fluids are removed from the spine using a needle.

Medications used for moderate sedation,

The medicines that may be used during the procedure include anaesthesia used to relieve discomfort for the patient during surgery; anti-anxiety medicines used to relax the patient; narcotics used to treat pain during and after the procedure and sedatives also used to keep the patients calm and relaxed through out. Medicines can be given in a number of different ways including in the form of a pill, a shot or into the anus. Some medicines can also be breathed directly into the lungs and sometimes an intravenous tube will be used inserted into a vein.

After moderate sedation

Once the procedure has been completed you will be told to get some rest and will be monitored by nurses. Some people find it hard to remember the procedure when they have been moderately sedated. The amount of time that you are recommended to stay in hospital varies from case to case and will be up to the discretion of your doctor. You will be advised on the activities that you should or not attempt to carry out in the time following the procedure such as driving. Always follow the instructions provided to you by your doctor or nurse and report any usual symptoms or side effect as soon as you notice them.

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