Moderate sedation: ASA guidelines

Basic, Generic Clinical Sciences

The ASA has produced guidelines that define levels of sedation.

  • Minimal Sedation  (Anxiolysis) is a drug-induced state during which patients respond normally to verbal commands.Example: Small amount of fentanyl or midazolam
  • Moderate Sedation/Analgesia (“Conscious Sedation”) is a drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients respond purposefully to verbal commands, either alone or accompanied by light tactile stimulation. Example: More midazolam or fentanyl
  • Deep Sedation/Analgesia  is a drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients cannot be easily aroused but respond purposefully following repeated or painful stimulation. The ability to independently maintain ventilatory function may be impaired.

Of note, airway intervention is, by definition, NOT required in a patient receiving moderate sedation.

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