Types of Sedation

Though great emphasis is placed upon the procedural experience to be administered in a relaxed environment, the need to reduce anxiety and achieve optimum results from radiology procedures may require the use of sedation. Through the expertise of staff members, the appropriate sedative will be administered to ensure the comfort of children while undergoing their procedure.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Relatively new to its use within radiology services, nitrous oxide is an odorless gas that is being used for control of anxiety or uncomfortable procedures at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. It is commonly known as laughing gas or happy gas. Nitrous oxide works immediately once it has been inhaled. The effects of nitrous oxide last for only one to two minutes after the mask has been removed. A child will be considered for nitrous oxide use based on his or her medical history, allergies, and the radiologic procedure that is requested.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral sedation is generally used for a child undergoing non-painful procedures and who will experience minimal to moderate sedation while still being conscious and maintaining cardiorespiratory function. Patients will be given an oral medication that is easy to swallow and safe. The precise dose will be determined by their unique weight, situation, and circumstances. During the procedure, each patient is monitored closely by both pulse dosimeter and a blood pressure cuff. After completion of the procedure, the patient is monitored until he or she reaches specific discharge criteria, after which the child is  able to go home.

IV Sedation

Intravenous (IV) sedations are administered when a procedure may be uncomfortable, painful, or lengthy. Upon receiving initial supplement sedation, patients usually fall asleep within a few minutes. Small doses are given at first. Additional doses may be administered during a long procedure.

General Anesthesia

Sometimes children are unable to cooperate or require lengthy procedures. These children may be given general anesthesia. An anesthesiologist monitors and keeps the patient comfortable during the procedure. With general anesthesia, patients will have no recollection of the treatment.

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