Monitored Anesthesia Care or Twilight Sleep Explained

What You Should Know About Conscious Sedation

Definition: Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC), also known as conscious sedation or twilight sleep, is a type of sedation that is administered through an IV to make a patient sleepy and calm during a procedure. The patient is typically awake, but groggy, and are able to follow instructions as needed.

How Twilight Sleep Feels

The level of sedation provided with this type of anesthesia can range from light, where the patient just feels very relaxed, to heavy sedation where the patient is unaware of what is happening and only rouses to significant stimulation.

The patient may feel silly and a little sleepy, or under heavier doses may be mostly asleep.  In general, the patient is able to speak, hear things around them and answer questions and follow commands.  They are aware of the procedure, but not in pain and typically don't feel anxiety about the what is happening.

Depending on the medications used and the doses given, the patient may or may not remember the procedure.

Monitoring of Conscious Sedation

Because the level of sedation varies, the process is monitored, with a anesthesia professional present to continuously monitor the patient's vital signs and maintain or adjust the level of sedation as needed. This usually means a heart monitor, a blood pressure cuff and a monitor for oxygen levels, at the minimum. 

When Twilight Sleep is Used

This type of sedation is frequently used with minor surgical procedures and dental procedures and is combined with local or regional anesthesia to decrease pain.

More Information About Anesthesia

Also Known As: monitored sedation, twilight sleep, light sedation,

Examples: The dentist recommended twilight sleep to keep the patient calm and comfortable while having his wisdom teeth extracted.

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