The Sedation Continuum from Conscious Sedation to General ...
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The Sedation Continuum from Conscious Sedation to General Anesthesia - Definitions


Minimal sedation: a drug-induced state during which patients respond normally to verbal 

commands. Although cognitive function and coordination may be impaired, ventilator and 

cardiovascular functions are unaffected. 


Moderate sedation ("conscious sedation"): a drug-induced depression of consciousness during 

which patients respond purposefully to verbal commands, either alone or accompanied by 

light tactile stimulation. No interventions are required to maintain a patent airway, and 

spontaneous ventilation is adequate. Cardiovascular function is usually maintained. 


Deep sedation: a drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients cannot be 

easily aroused but respond purposefully following repeated or painful stimulation. The ability to 

independently maintain ventilatory function may be impaired. Patients may require assistance 

in maintaining a patent airway, and spontaneous ventilation may be inadequate. 

Cardiovascular function is usually maintained. 


General anesthesia: a drug-induced loss of consciousness during which patients are not 

arousable, even by painful stimulation. The ability to independently maintain ventilatory 

support is often impaired. Patients often require assistance in maintaining a patent airway, and 

positive pressure ventilation may be required because of depressed spontaneous ventilation or 

drug-induced depression of neuromuscular function. Cardiovascular function may be 

impaired. 


Dissociative sedation: a trance-like cataleptic state in which the patient experiences profound 

analgesia and amnesia but retains airway protective reflexes, spontaneous respirations, and 

cardiopulmonary stability. Ketamine is the pharmacologic agent used for procedural sedation 

that produces this state. 


#Sedation #Definitions #Anesthesia #General #Conscious #Continuum
Contributed by

Dr. Aaron Brown
@aaronbrown
GrepMed Anesthesia Editor, UC Davis School of Medicine 2019
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