American College of Gastroenterology
Advancing Gastroenterology, Improving Patient Care



  • What is sedation?

    Sedation the sleepiness that is needed for you to have an endoscopy. This can be from several different medications.

    Sedation reduces or avoids discomfort. For example, pain caused the gas used to inflate your stomach and intestines may cause a stretching feeling.

    How sleepy you get depends on the type and dose of medications given through a vein. There are two main types of sedation used for gastrointestinal procedures-conscious sedation and deep sedation.

    The term “conscious sedation,” also known as moderate sedation, is a type of sedation. You will be drowsy and forgetful but can still follow simple instructions while asleep. This is usually given by the doctor ding your procedure.

    Some patients may require or request “deep sedation” that puts you more deeply asleep. A medication called propofol is typically used. At very high doses, it can be used for “general anesthesia” as in surgeries.

    Deep sedation needs to be monitored closer during endoscopy. In many places, its use requires anesthesia personnel and may involve additional costs to patients.

    You may also consider not having sedation for your endoscopy. You would be awake during your procedure and able to observe the procedure as it occurs but may feel some discomfort. If interested, you should discuss it with staff or your doctor before the endoscopy and on the day of endoscopy.

    Sedation also requires you to not eat or drink for some time before the procedure. Usually, you should drink no liquids for at least 2 hours and eat no solid foods for at least 8 hours before your procedure starts. Eating or drinking too closer to your procedure can result in delays to your procedure. Go over the instructions from your doctor.