1. 8622-Mild sedation (EN)

You will soon be undergoing an examination or treatment and will be mildly sedated during it. It is important that you read this leaflet carefully as it will ensure that the examination or treatment is carried out safely. For instance, you must not eat or drink anything before the examination or treatment. It may sometimes also be necessary to stop taking your medicines.

What is mild sedation?

You will be given mild sedation during your examination. We also refer to this as ‘conscious sedation’. You will feel a little drowsy, but the doctors and nurses will still be able to talk to you during the examination. Sedation is given to help you feel more relaxed during the examination. In other words, this is not an anaesthetic. The drowsiness caused by sedation will start immediately after you have been administered with the sedative. We cannot predict how drowsy you will be. Even if you do not sleep, you will be more relaxed when you undergo the examination. For certain procedures, you will not only be given a sedative but also a painkiller.

You will not wake up again until after the examination.

Advantages of sedation

  • We aim for a form of what is known as ‘conscious sedation’. You will feel a little drowsy, but the doctors and nurses will still be able to communicate with you during the examination. In other words, sedation is not an anaesthetic, but is given to help you feel more relaxed during the examination.
  • Another advantage is that, unlike with general anaesthesia, you do not need to be ventilated.
  • Your protective reflexes remain intact, reducing the risk of complications, for example, through choking, as compared with those associated with anaesthesia.
  • Sometimes you will afterwards have no recollection of what happened.

Disadvantages of sedation

Although mild sedation has its advantages, there are also some disadvantages:

  • Sedation causes you to breathe more shallowly, sometimes requiring the administration of oxygen. If your oxygen level becomes too low, it may be necessary to reverse the action of the sedative by administering you with medication.
  • You may also be less sensitive to the medication. Regular use of sedatives or alcoholic drinks can reduce the action of the medication.
  • In addition, the administration of the medication can cause a mild disinhibition reaction in some people.

Special circumstances

In some cases, the gastroenterologist performing the procedure may decide not to administer a sedative because of the risk of complications.


Owing to the effects of the sedation, you will not be allowed to go home alone after the examination. You should therefore arrange for someone to escort you home before coming in for the examination.
Since the effects of the sedation will continue for 24 hours, you should not be at home alone during that period. We would therefore ask you to arrange beforehand for someone to be with you during the 24 hours after the examination.
No eating and drinking

Please note: If you are coming for a colonoscopy, please adhere to the fasting policy set out in the preparation schedule you received from us.

There must be no food in your oesophagus or stomach during the examination or treatment. To avoid serious complications such as pneumonia, you must fast before the examination. This means that as from a specified time you are not allowed to eat or drink anything. In practice, this means:

Up to  six hours before the admission time you may eat only a light meal. You may choose from:

  • Two rusks or crackers with jam but no butter
  • One slice of bread with jam, but no butter.

Up to two hours before the admission time you may drink only clear liquids, including:

  • Coffee (without milk, although you may add sugar), tea, water, clear apple juice or still lemonade.
  • You must not drink any milk products or broth.

Below is an example
You are expected at the hospital at 15.00. This means you must not eat anything after 09.00. You must not drink anything after 13.00.

During the examination

Before the examination starts, the doctor or nurse will insert an IV needle into a blood vessel in your arm or hand.
A clip attached to your finger will then be used to check that your heart rate and blood oxygen level are fine.
The sedative will then be administered through the needle.
Since the medication is fast-acting, the examination can start more or less immediately after it has been administered.
The examination can sometimes take a little longer and you will be awake again before it has been completed. It’s important not to worry about this.

After the examination

If you have been admitted to our hospital, you will remain in the Day Care ward for a short period after the procedure. Nurses from your nursing ward will then collect you. Once you’re back in the ward, the doctor treating you will give you the results of the examination.

If you come as a day-patient, you will remain in the Day Care ward for a short period where you can sleep off the effects of the sedation until it has worn off completely and you feel yourself again. The nurses will also perform a few checks.

  • The results of the examination will be stated on the information form we will give you. If necessary, a check-up appointment will be made.
  • Depending on the type of procedure and the arrangements made by the gastroenterologist, you may be able to start eating and drinking again as normal.
  • In that case, you will be offered a snack. In the meantime, the nurse will telephone your contact person to arrange a time for you to be collected. Your contact person can take a seat in the Endoscopy department’s waiting room.

Going home

You will usually be allowed to go home the same day, unless the doctor has agreed otherwise with you. A nurse will remove the IV needle before you go home.

Please note: The mild sedation might slow your responses. Therefore, you are advised not to do the following during the first 24 hours after the examination:

  • drive a car or any other vehicle;
  • operate dangerous machinery;
  • make important decisions.

Endoscopy procedure checklist

  1. You may take a seat in waiting room 52 fifteen minutes before the examination after reporting to the reception desk.
  2. Please bring the telephone number of the person coming to collect you with you.
  3. After the examination, you will need to be collected from the waiting room by the person coming to take you back home. You are not allowed to go downstairs on your own.
  4. You are not allowed to travel on public transport on your own, but you may do so with the person coming to collect you.
  5. If you are diabetic and use insulin, please specify a glucose level before the examination. It would be good if you could bring your blood sugar monitor with you on the day of the examination. Please also bring some insulin for after the examination.
  6. It’s better that you are not alone for the first 24 hours after the examination, or at least can telephone someone if you feel unwell.


If you have any questions, please telephone the Endoscopy Department of the Gastroenterology Outpatients’ Clinic.


+31 (0) 88 624 33 20 (available from Monday to Friday from 08.30 to 10.30)

Deze folder is ook beschikbaar in het Nederlands: Sedatie

Laatst gewijzigd 11 juli 2023 / 8622