Responsiveness-Based Sedation State Definitions 

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Responsiveness-Based Sedation State Definitions 


Minimal sedation (anxiolysis) 
"A drug-induced state during which patients respond normally to verbal commands. Although cognitive 

function and coordination might be impaired, ventilatory and cardiovascular functions are unaffected."

Moderate 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 "
 
Dissociative sedation 
"A trance-like cataleptic state induced by the dissociative drug ketamine characterized by profound 

analgesia and amnesia, with retention of protective airway reflexes, spontaneous respirations, and 

cardiopulmonary stability. "2-6 

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. "34 

General anesthesia 
"A drug-induced loss of consciousness during which patients are not arousable, even by painful 

stimulation. The ability to independently maintain ventilatory function 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. " 

#Sedation #Definitions #Procedural #Anesthesia #Minimal #Moderate #General #Deep #Dissociative #Anesthesia #Management
Contributed by

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