Benzodiazepines (common sedative medication) have a cumulative effect.This means that if the patient has not had time to metabolize the previous dose and ingests more, then the sedative effect may increase.
Additionally, sedation is often desirable to diminish fear associated with operative procedures.
Sedation is often given to allow a patient to be comfortable during a surgical or medical procedure and is administered through an intravenous catheter (IV), with minimal side effects.
A medically induced coma is only administered in intensive care units, whereas sedation can be administered not only in hospitals, but ambulatory surgery centers and doctors’ or dentists’ offices.
Patients receiving conscious sedation are cooperative, have stable vital signs (pulse, respiratory rate, and temperature), shorter recovery room convalescence, and lower risk of developing drug-induced complications.
Unconscious sedation is a controlled state of anesthesia, characterized by partial or complete loss of protective nerve reflexes, including the ability to independently breathe and respond to commands.
Sedation is typically used for common diagnostic tests that require prolonged immobilization such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed axial tomography (CAT) scanning.
Some cases that require sedation may also necessitate the use of analgesics to decrease pain associated with a procedure or test.
The patient is unable to cooperate, has labile (fluctuating) vital signs, prolonged recovery room convalescence, and higher risk of anesthetic complications.
Usually procedures for conscious sedation do not require preoperative or pre-testing orders.
When a patient is put in a medically induced coma or deep state of unconsciousness, the brain is able to rest and swelling is more likely to decrease.
When swelling is relieved, pressure on the brain also reduces, hopefully preventing some or all brain damage from occurring.
Because of these additive effects, these medications taken with other sedatives or alcohol (also a sedative hypnotic drug) may increase chances for accidental death.