Conscious sedation: what an internist needs to know
THOMAS L. HIGGINS, MD
Dr. Higgins is director of Adult Critical Care Services, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Mass.
CHARLES J. HEARN, DO
Dr. Hearn is a member of the Department of Cardiothoracic Anesthesia at the Cleveland Clinic.
WALTER G. MAURER, MD
Dr. Maurer is chief of the Section of Ambulatory Anesthesia and medical director of Presurgical Services at the Cleveland Clinic.
DONALD G. VIDT, MD
The use of conscious sedation instead of general anesthesia is increasing with the development of less-invasive alternatives to surgery and the shift to outpatient care. Yet, conscious sedation can pose its own special dangers. Common pitfalls include failure to recognize hypoxemia, inadequate analgesia, inappropriate dosing with respect to individual variability, and lack of appropriate backup support.