Intravenous Sedation Patient Instructions

What is Intravenous Sedation?

Intravenous sedation involves the use of intravenous medication administered and supervised by a Specialist Anaesthetist. A combination of sedative and pain relieving drugs help create a drowsy and dream-like state of relaxation for the duration of your procedure. It allows your practitioner to care for you at their clinic, and is safer than undergoing a full general anaesthetic. Most people remember very little of their procedure.

Planning for your procedure

  1. Fasting

Please ensure that you do not eat anything for 6 hours before your appointment. This includes chewing gum and mints. You may have small sips of water only (max 200mL) until 3 hours before your procedure. Having an empty stomach reduces the risk of stomach liquid being inhaled into the lungs when you are sedated, which could cause potentially severe breathing problems such as pneumonia.

  1. Medication

You may take your medication before your procedure. If it is during the fasting period, please take them with a small sip of water only.

If you are diabetic – please do not take insulin or diabetic tablets before your procedure. You will be given advice regarding your medication before your procedure.

  1. Loose and comfortable clothing

As you will be lying in a chair for a prolonged period of time, you comfort is essential. Please ensure short sleeves (to allow a blood pressure cuff to be applied to one arm, and a cannula to be inserted in the other arm), and open neck and a loose waistband. Please also remove nail polish and false nails.

  1. Bring a blanket

To ensure warmth during the procedure, please bring a clean and comfortable blanket or large towel with you when you attend the clinic.

  1. Getting home

After we have determined that you are safe for discharge, you must be accompanied home by a responsible adult. If you do not have someone to take you home, we will not be able to undertake your procedure.

You must not:

  • Drive yourself home
  • Drive a vehicle for at least the next 24 hours
  • Use public transport for at least 24 hours

During your procedure

You will be attached to monitoring, which will assess your pulse, blood pressure, oxygen level and breathing. You will also have a small cannula inserted in your hand/arm. You will then be covered with your blanket, and will drift off into a very relaxed state, as the sedative medication takes effect.

This dream-like state is in between being awake and being asleep, and you will find it warm, pleasant and very calming.

This medication will be given in small doses throughout your procedure to ensure that you remain in this relaxed and sleepy state until your procedure has finished.

After your procedure

Once we have determined that you are safe to leave the clinic, you may go home. Your carer must stay with you for the next 24 hours.

They must check on you every hour for the first 4 hours at home, and gently wake you up each time if you are sleeping.

For the next 24 hours, you must observe the following precautions:

  • Do not drive a motor vehicle or operate any tools/machinery
  • Do not drink alcohol of take any sedative/sleeping pills
  • Do not undertake any physical activity in/around the house
  • Do not leave the house.

If you have any concerns, please contact your practitioner or anaesthetist.

Emergency Contact Information

For emergency assistance, please call 000 or attend the emergency room of your local hospital.