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General Information About Sedation

For some procedures, sedation ensures that necessary tests can be completed while providing a comfortable and pleasant experience. The patient is administered medications through an IV tube that allows the patient to be deeply relaxed yet still able to cooperate with the medical staff.

The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) at St. Paul Radiology are pleased to provide you with answers to questions you may have about pediatric and adult sedation services. This information will help ensure a positive experience.

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Questions About Sedation

Question: What is sedation?

Answer: Sedation is the use of anesthetics to cause loss of awareness allowing patients to complete screenings safely and comfortably. CRNAs use a variety of intravenous agents, custom designed to each patient’s need.

Question: Who needs sedation prior to an imaging exam (MRI, CT or PET screening)?

Answer: Infants and children often need sedation prior to imaging due to an inability to be still for more than a few moments, affecting the quality of the screening. Adult patients who are unable to tolerate diagnostic imaging due to uncomfortable feelings of confinement, pain or uncontrollable tremors have several options including oral Valium, Open MRI or conscious sedation. Talk with your physician to see if one of these options is right for you.

Question: What is monitored during sedation?

Answer: State-of-the-art equipment is used to monitor blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, respiration and exhaled carbon dioxide to ensure patient safety while under anesthesia.

Question: What information will I need to provide before my examination?

Answer: All patients are required to have a physical completed by their primary physician within 30 days of their imaging procedure. A written copy of this physical is required at the time of sedation. A telephone interview will be conducted 1 to 3 days before your scheduled appointment to gather information on health history, medications and allergies. The CRNA will also relay specific instructions pertaining to your upcoming screening. Please bring your insurance card with you to the imaging center.

Question: What should I wear to my examination?

Answer: Please wear comfortable clothing that does not have metal of any kind (snaps and zippers). A gown will be provided if necessary and lockers are available to store your personal belongings.

Question: How should I prepare for the exam?

Answer: During your phone interview, specific instructions will be given as to discontinuation of food and fluids prior to the exam. All patients are required to have a responsible adult drive them home as well as stay with them after the exam for a period of time. These are important safety measures taken for your well being.

Question: How long will my examination last?

Answer: It is important that you arrive 1 hour before your scheduled appointment. Exam times vary depending on the body part(s) your physician has ordered to be scanned. The sedation and imaging process can be surprisingly brief. For example, a 1-hour MRI screening might require only 2 to 3 hours at our facility. Before leaving, every patient or family is given clear instructions specific to the sedatives given and a contact number should questions arise at home.

Question: How will I receive my exam results?

Answer: A Board Certified Radiologist (a physician who specializes in interpreting diagnostic images) will study the images from your examination and send a report to your physician.

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Download Procedure Preparation Information