Pediatric Sedation | Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines

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Blank Children's Hospital

Sedation Services

The Blank Children's Hospital pediatric sedation team is a group of specially-trained pediatric doctors, nurses and Child Life specialists who work together to help children sleep through potentially stressful or painful procedures or tests. Providers may request sedation for children during procedures that may be painful, take a long time or require a child to stay completely still.

Common Questions About Sedation

What is sedation?

Sedation is giving children medicine to make them more relaxed. When children are sedated, they will often better tolerate a medical procedure and will often not remember the procedure. Depending on the level of sedation, children may be conscious and able to talk, or may be deeply asleep but still breathing on their own.

What tests are sedation commonly used for?

  • Sedation is commonly used for a variety of procedures where children need to remain still for a period of time, such as MRI or CT scans or peripheral inserted catheter placement (PICC), drainage of infected areas of the body.

  • Other situations when sedation is beneficial:

    • Children of young age

    • Children with behavioral, developmental or psychological issues

    • Procedure is painful

    • Children who have a fear of closed spaces

Is sedation safe?

Safety is our primary concern when sedating children. Sedation medications can have side effects. The sedation physician will discuss all possible side effects with you before your child is sedated.

The team assesses every child to ensure it is safe for them to receive sedation medications. Our sedation team uses standard guidelines to ensure your child is safe during sedation.

How do I schedule a sedation?

Sedation needs to be requested by your child's doctor or primary care provider based on the type of test or procedure to be performed.

Where are sedations performed?

Sedations are performed where the procedure will occur. For example, if your child is receiving an MRI, the sedation will take place in Radiology.

Can my child eat or drink before sedation?

It is very important that your child follow the food guidelines provided to you prior to sedation. If your child does not follow the specific guidelines, the sedation and procedure will need to be rescheduled. Be sure to talk to the sedation coordinator if you have any questions.

The chart below will help guide you concerning your child's ability to have food or drink prior to the test.

 Food or Drink
 Time prior to test
 Clear liquids, fruit juices without pulp, carbonated beverages, tea, coffee
 STOP 2 hours before
 Breast milk
 STOP 4 hours before
 Infant formula
 STOP 6 hours before
 Regular milk
 STOP 6 hours before
 Light meal, i.e. toast, clear liquids
 STOP 6 hours before
 Meals with fat or meat
 STOP 8 hours before

 

What happens during the sedation?

The type of sedation used is based on your child's age, weight, allergies and the procedure being performed. Your child may need an intravenous (IV) catheter for sedation. Topical medicine may be placed on your child to numb the area for the IV to be placed. The sedation medicine is given prior to the procedure. You are allowed to stay with your child as long as possible prior to the procedure starting; your child may be sedated while they are still with you. For some procedures, you may remain in the room with your child. If you cannot stay with your child during the procedure, you will be taken to a waiting area until the procedure is completed.

The sedation team remains with your child and monitors him or her throughout the procedure. The team will also be with your child immediately after the procedure. The sedation team will return your child to a monitored area where he or she will remain until ready to go home. If your child is in the hospital at the time of the procedure, your child will be returned to his or her hospital room.

What happens after the sedation?

When your child is fully awake, eating and drinking, and all vital signs are back to pre-sedation levels, you may go home. We will provide you instructions to follow and a number to call if you have any questions.

Please contact Shannan Morgan, RN, our sedation coordinator, at 515-205-4648 for specific questions concerning pediatric sedation.