Levels include conscious sedation, deep sedation and general anesthesia.
Progresses from minimum to general anesthesia.
Low doses of sedative hypnotics, or opioids can induce mild analgesia or sedation.
Higher doses of medication increases sedation and increases the risk of respiratory compromise.
In intensive care patients it attempts to reduce discomfort, increase tolerance to mechanical ventilation, prevent removal of devices, and to decrease metabolic demands.
Long-term use of sedation in an intensive care unit setting can lead to prolonged mechanical ventilation, impaired mentation, coma, delerium, delusions, post traumatic stress disorder, impaired cognition, prolonged hospitalization, and increased mortality.