What Is Sedation?
Many tests and procedures require that children hold still in a particular position for anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Sedation is the use of a sedative or tranquilizing drug to help children relax. Sedation in combination with pain medication is also used to help children remain comfortable during painful procedures.
There are several different levels of sedation:
- Minimal sedation: Child is in a relaxed state in which he is awake and able to respond normally to questions.
- Moderate sedation: Child is in and out of consciousness and is arousable by sound or touch.
- Deep sedation: Child is unconscious and does not respond to sound or touch.
Sedation medications are given by mouth, intranasally (spray that is administered into the nostrils similar to FluMist®), intramuscularly (injection through a muscle) or intravenously (through a vein).
Our sedation team works very closely with the child and family to determine the most appropriate sedation plan. Medications and levels of sedation are chosen based on your child’s needs and developmental level, duration of the test or procedure and invasiveness of the procedure.
- Midazolam (Brand name: Versed®): A medication used to help ease anxiety and help the child relax. It may be given in combination with other medications to help the child sleep through a test or procedure. Midazolam is administered by mouth, intranasally or intravenously.
- Fentanyl (Brand name: Sublimaze®): A pain medication used to supplement sedation and/or relieve pain. It’s usually given to help ease children to sleep during sedation with Pentobarbital, and used as needed to maintain comfort during painful procedures. Fentanyl is administered intranasally or intravenously.
- Pentobarbital (Brand name: Nembutal®): Long-acting medication that causes deep sedation. Children usually fall asleep within a few minutes of receiving this medication. Pentobarbital is administered orally or intravenously.
- Ketamine: A medication used for sedation and pain relief. It’s administered intramuscularly or intravenously.
Procedures that may require sedation
Some studies or procedures that may require sedation include but are not limited to: