Intravenous Sedation

What is intravenous sedation?

Sedation refers to feeling calm and relaxed. During the procedure you will be given medicines to make you calm and sleepy and/or to reduce any pain or discomfort. You will not be totally asleep, as when you are given general anesthesia in the operating room.  

What medicines are used?

Sedation is used in both adults and children. Several medicines can be used, depending on what you need. If you ever had a reaction to anesthesia or a pain medicine, be sure to the doctor before the procedure begins. Sedative medicines are given to help you relax and be calm. If the procedure is likely to be painful or uncomfortable, fast acting pain medicine can be used.  

How will the medicine be given?

The medicine for sedation is typically given through an IV. An IV is a soft and flexible tube placed in a vein. The IV will be connected to a bag of fluid. Oxygen is given through a small tube with the ends placed gently in the tip of your nose.  

Is sedation safe?

There are always risks with any procedure or medicine. However, IV sedation is used because the risks are low. A qualified practitioner will watch and check you closely before, during, and after your procedure. Based on your personal medical history and your airway assessment that day, you may not qualify for sedation in the clinic setting. If you are a high risk patient, typically the procedures will be performed in an operating room for your safety.  

The greatest risk comes from vomiting. It is very important to follow directions about when to stop eating or drinking before your procedure. Before the procedure starts, be sure to tell the office staff or the doctor if you are unable to follow the eating or drinking restrictions. Also, please let the clinic staff or doctor know if pain medicines tend to make you feel sick.  

What are the side effects of sedation and analgesia?

Any reactions are usually mild. You may be drowsy or dizzy for several hours after the procedure. You could possibly have low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, headache, cough, rapid heart rate, or become restless or confused. Sometimes the medicines may not relax you enough and the procedure may not be completed. Some of the medicines used for sedation may affect your short term memory. If these medicines are used, you will most likely not remember some things that occurred during the time of the procedure. You should not be afraid that you have lost part of your memory. This is a normal effect of the medicines you were given.  

Discharge Instructions:

  1. Arrange to have a responsible person to drive you home. You cannot go home alone.
  2. Do not drive, make any important decisions, sign any legal papers, exercise, or use alcohol for the next 24 hours. You could still be under the influence of the sedation.
  3. Be sure to change your position slowly, especially when getting up to walk. You may feel dizzy. Children and the elderly will need someone with them to watch that they don’t fall. 


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