What do you need to know about Enhanced Sedation?

About enhanced/procedural sedation

Where it is used

Enhanced or Procedural sedation can be provided where certain procedures will be too uncomfortable or cause too much anxiety under standard sedation or local anaesthesia alone. Examples where we can help with these include gastroscopy, colonoscopy, interventional radiology, ureteroscopy and other minor procedures. The sedation is administered by one of our consultant anaesthetists (rather than by your operating consultant), using intra-venous anaesthetic drugs at doses that are just high enough that they minimise the chances of being aware or remembering the procedure. The standard of care and continuous monitoring allows the anaesthetist to carefully balance the depth of sedation required to keep you comfortably asleep. This differs from a full general anaesthetic, which is usually a much deeper sleep, because it allows for a more rapid wake up and discharge from hospital. 

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The procedure

Since the sedatives used are actually anaesthetic agents you may be asked to not eat anything for the previous six hours, but you should be able to drink clear water till around 2 hours before sedation. This will also vary according to the actual procedure and you should check with your physician for precise details. 

You will usually only need to arrive shortly before the procedure prior to a full consultation with your anaesthetist. You will usually be able to walk into the procedure room and after some final checks are done, an intra-venous cannula will be inserted. Soon after we have made sure that you are lying in a comfortable position and the cables to monitor your vital signs have been attached, you will drift off to sleep. After the procedure you will wake up in the recovery room before being transferred back to the ward. Usually, it should be possible for you to eat or drink something within half an hour of waking up and be ready to go home soon afterwards. 

We would recommend that you should be accompanied by someone to take you home and not drive for the rest of the day.