Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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About Deep Sedation


What is deep sedation?

It is a drug-induced depression of consciousness during which your child cannot be easily aroused. Your child may continue to move while being sedated but will not remember the procedure being performed.

Who provides deep sedation?

Deep sedation is administered by pediatric critical care physicians and pediatric critical care nurse practitioners.

What medications are used for deep sedation?

The medications chosen for deep sedation are based on your child's specific needs. The most commonly used medicines are propofol, pentobarbital, ketamine, and versed. The dose is given based on your child's weight.

How is the medication administered?

Most deep sedation medications are administered through a peripheral IV (a needle or tube placed in the vein).

How will my child be monitored?

Your child's vital signs are monitored while the sedative medication is being administered. Vital signs include heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation. Your child will wear a small nasal tube during the sedation to monitor their breathing.

How do I prepare my child for deep sedation?

Please follow these standards regarding when your child may consume food or drink.

  • No solid foods for eight hours prior to the procedure
  • No light solids for six hours prior to the procedure. Light solids include small portions of foods such as toast, crackers and infant formula.
  • No breast milk for four hours prior to the procedure
  • No clear fluids for two hours prior to the procedure
  • Your child may take his or her regular medication with sips of water up to two hours prior to the procedure.

If these guidelines are not followed the sedation will be rescheduled. 

Medical history

Your child's medical history will help determine the optimal sedation medication. Please let us know if your child has any of the following medical conditions.

  • Asthma or reactive airway disease
  • Heart murmur or other cardiac disease
  • Apnea or snoring
  • Recent upper respiratory infection
  • Gastrointestinal reflux 
  • Liver disease


Should you and your child arrive 30 minutes after your scheduled arrival time, the sedation service may need to reschedule your procedure.

Last Edited: June 23, 2016
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