ASA Clarifies Medically Induced Coma Versus Sedation

Medically induced comas differ from sedation in the level of unconsciousness, according to a release issued by the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

According to the ASA, a medically induced coma occurs when a patient receives a controlled dose of an anesthetic, typically propofol, pentobarbital or thiopental, to cause a temporary coma or deep state of unconsciousness. Patients in medically induced comas generally have brain injuries with swelling that have not responded to other treatments. The coma is able to protect the brain from swelling by reducing the metabolic rate of brain tissue and cerebral blood flow.

Sedation, on the other hand, puts the patient in a "semi-conscious state" rather than a very deep unconscious state, allowing the patient to be comfortable during surgery with minimal side effects. Sedation can be administered in ASCs and physician offices, whereas medically induced comas are only appropriate in ICUs.

Read the American Society of Anesthesiologists report on medically-induced coma.

Read more on anesthesia:

-Training, Provider Education Could Decrease Likelihood of Awareness During Anesthesia

-Anesthesiologist on the Move: Dr. Ray Naturman Joins Summit Medical Group ASC

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