Levels of patient sedation
The levels of patient sedation exist along a continuum: light sedation, moderate sedation, deep sedation, and general anesthesia. A patient under light sedation can respond to stimuli and maintains intact airway reflexes. A patient under moderate sedation should maintain spontaneous ventilation and be able to protect the airway. A patient under deep sedation can respond to vigorous stimuli but may lack airway reflexes. A patient under general anesthesia has no response to stimuli and lacks all protective reflexes.