Comp Clues


Sedation Used only When its Best for Patients

By Stacey Cornelius, Indianapolis Account Manager
| Date: 05/01/2002

For some patients, an imaging exam can be challenging to complete because of claustrophobia, difficulty lying still or the need to be in a position that is painful due to injury. CDI offers sedation, monitored by professionally trained staff, to assist them through their exam and to make it as comfortable an experience as possible.

CDI believes in the practice of using sedation only when necessary for the good of the patient and when it is the one way to acquire the necessary images for their physician. In most cases, we are able to talk patients through their exam successfully without sedation, as a technologist remains in contact with the patient throughout the entire exam. Sometimes, our patients use music, mirrored glasses or eye masks provided to them for comfort. Our high-field short bore MRI also helps patients with claustrophobia, as the scanner is about one half the length of a traditional MRI, and most patients can see out outside of the scanner during their exam.

The need for sedation should be indicated to CDI when scheduling. Adult patients and children over the age of five need a note from their referring physician’s office ahead of time indicating there are concerns and that sedation may be needed. For children under the age of five, CDI will prescreen them to determine if sedation may be necessary. Sometimes, patients are not aware that the exam may be uncomfortable for them until they arrive. We can still offer them sedation as an option, however depending on timing we may need to reschedule the exam. Patients with special needs are evaluated by a CDI professional as to whether sedation will be appropriate.

CDI uses different methods of administering sedation to patients. For adults and children over the age of five, we use oral or IV sedation. The potency is the same and puts the patient into a state of sleepiness, however an IV sedation will take effect much faster and for some patients this is necessary. For children under the age of five, we use deep sedation that puts them into a deep sleep for the amount of time necessary to complete the imaging exam. Children under 18 months are given sedation in a liquid form. Children over 18 months and younger than five years, will receive deep sedation via IV or IM (intervascular or intermuscular).

Minimal preparation is required on the part of a patient for the use of sedation. Adults and children older than the age of two cannot eat or drink four hours prior to the exam, and children under the age of two – cannot eat or drink for three hours prior. CDI will administer sedation when the patient arrives for their exam, unless your office prefers to provide them with it directly. In these cases, we ask that the patient take the sedation one hour prior to their appointment. (Note: if a referring office provides the sedation, they are legally responsible for the patient’s reaction). Patients will need a driver in all cases.

After an exam, written instructions are provided. A light diet is recommended and they should be monitored four to six hours after the exam to make sure they do not fall asleep. Sedation does not have any major side effects.

For more information about sedation, please call CDI at 317-846-0717.