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What is moderate sedation?

Moderate sedation is used to help patients relax or feel sleepy during a procedure.  It also helps to decrease pain.  When you are moderately sedated, you may almost be asleep; but you are easy to wake up and you are able to answer questions. 

When is it used?

Moderate sedation is used for minor surgeries and certain types of tests.  It may be used in a hospital or clinic. Your health care provider will talk with you this before your procedure.

How is it used?

There are a few different medicines that can be used for moderate sedation.  The medicine may be given to you as a pill, injection, or through an IV (intravenous) line.  

An IV is a small tube that is placed in a vein in the arm.  Fluids and drugs can be given through an IV.  Once an IV is placed, it should not hurt.  Your arm may feel cool because of the fluids in your IV.

What about eating and drinking?

A health care provider will talk with you about how to prepare for moderate sedation.  To be ready for it, you may be asked to not eat or drink for several hours prior to surgery or test. 

What happens during moderate sedation?

When an adult is sedated, your oxygen level, heart rate, and blood pressure are checked.  The adult patient will be asked questions about how you are feeling and answering these questions are important.  

During moderate sedation, you may have a heart monitor.  You may receive oxygen.  A doctor or nurse will be with you during this time. 

How will you feel?

If you and your health care provider expect that you will leave the hospital or clinic on the same day that you have been given moderate sedation, you should plan to stay as long as needed to recover after the procedure.  The least amount of time you will need to stay is 30 minutes.  

You may have blurred vision, temporary short term memory loss, nausea, and feel dizzy for some time. You may not remember details about the procedure, but the sleepy feeling does not last long.  You will feel back to normal in a short time.  

Even though you may feel like normal a short time after moderate sedation, you should plan to take it easy for 24 hours.  You should not drive or make important decisions (personal or business) until the next day.  

You must have someone drive you home from the hospital or clinic.