Pediatric Sedation Specialists in East Tennessee
Helping Kids Get the Medical Care They Need
Some children can become anxious when they come to the hospital for treatment
or medical procedures. As a result, they may not be able to sit still
or relax enough to receive care or complete the necessary procedure. To
help your child feel more comfortable, the doctor may suggest sedation.
Sedation vs. Anesthesia
Some patients benefit from sedation during painful or long tests and procedures.
A multispecialty team sees each child, including a pediatric sedation
physician from Pediatric Analgesia and Sedation Specialists (PASS) and
pediatric nurses. Here are some common questions and answers about pediatric
sedation and how it differs from pediatric anesthesia.
What happens when a child is sedated?
Your child will be given medication to help him relax or "go to sleep"
depending on the test. This will help them tolerate medical procedures
easier to achieve better test results. In most cases with pediatric sedation,
your child will probably not even remember the procedure at all. If they
experience pain, medicine to relieve the pain may also be given.
Is sedation the same as anesthesia?
No, with general pediatric anesthesia the patient is unresponsive, even
to pain, and, in most cases, require assistance from a breathing machine.
A sedated patient will continue to breathe on his or her own.
What are the benefits of sedation?
In addition to not requiring a breathing tube, your child will be admitted
as an outpatient that usually allows for a shorter hospital stay. As with
general anesthesia, specialty trained doctors as well as experienced registered
nurses will be caring for your child while they are sedated.
There are three levels of sedation:
Minimal sedation is given to reduce anxiety during the procedure. Your child will remain
awake and may respond normally when spoken to. This sedation may be used
for quick procedures such as starting an I.V. or putting in a catheter.
Moderate sedation is used for minor emergency procedures. When this is provided, your child
will respond to stimulation but may be sleepy and unsteady.
Deep sedation is typically used for longer procedures where "holding still"
is important such as MRIs or CT scans. It is also given for procedures
that may be painful or uncomfortable such as bone marrow tests or I and
Ds (incision and drainage). In these cases a pain medicine will be given
prior to the procedure.
How do you get this service?
Pediatric sedation is unique to Children's Hospital and just another
reason to bring your child to our hospital. Your pediatrician can discuss
with you the possible need for sedation during your child's procedure
or test. Not all tests at Children's Hospital allow for sedation.
If there are any questions, your doctor will talk with you.
Is sedation right for every child and every test?
No, sedation is only needed for some tests and only right for some children.
Depending on the age, medical problems and test your child is having,
a doctor trained to administer sedation will evaluate your child prior
to the procedure or test. If your child has certain medical problems such
as airway issues or if the doctor has concerns about him being able to
be sedated safely, your child may be referred to general anesthesia.
Not every test requires sedation. Many can be completed using distraction
techniques, such as iPads and play, offered by our Child Life Specialist.
However, should your child need sedation, take comfort as a parent knowing
that Children's Hospital's doctors and nurses are here to make
your child's hospital experience easier and as pain free as possible.