Q. What is Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)?
It is a colorless, odorless, non-flammable, breathable gas used as a safe and effective minimal sedative in medicine and dentistry. Nitrous oxide, or N2O, causes a sense of euphoria and relaxation. First used in 1772 to relieve a tooth ache, it is fast-acting and helps millions feel more comfortable and experience less pain during medical procedures.
Q. Is Nitrous Oxide safe?
Yes, Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) has been used since the late 1800s and it has the best safety record of any sedative agent when used alone(not in combination with other sedatives)! Many people forgo much needed medical care because of deep anxiety and fear of pain during the needed medical procedure. Nitrous oxide can relieve the anxiety as well as the pain during medical procedures.
Q. How is Nitrous oxide given?
Nitrous oxide typically is inhaled thru a face-mask as a safe mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. It can also be given thru a mouth piece if the procedure involves the nose or mouth. Nitrous oxide can be self-administered by having the patient hold the face-mask in place.
Q. Who can benefit from Nitrous oxide sedation?
Anyone who’s anxious about a medical procedure can benefit from nitrous oxide sedation.
Q. Does nitrous oxide sedation work for children as well as adults?
Yes, nitrous oxide can work equally well for children and adults. It is currently being used in dentistry, many medical offices, labor and delivery departments, and most pediatric hospitals nationwide.
Q. Will I remember anything after being sedated?
This is subjective. Some patients may experience mild amnesia or a sense of limited time having passed following the procedure and may not remember the events that occurred while they were sedated.
Q. Who is not eligible to use nitrous sedation?
- Patients who are in their 1st trimester of pregnancy.
- Patients with the following medical conditions: recent (within 2 weeks) inner ear or eye surgery, severe emphysematous blebs, severe B-12 deficiency.
- Patients who’ve undergone Bleomycin chemotherapy within the past year
Q. Does nitrous oxide affect my lungs or heart?
No. Exception; If a patient has had bleomycin chemotherapy in the previous year the oxygen that is administered along with the nitrous can damage the lungs.
Q. Will I feel any pain during the procedure?
The effect varies between individuals. Most patients will not go back to having a procedure done without nitrous once they have had nitrous for a medical procedure.
Q. How safe is nitrous oxide sedation?
When mixed with oxygen and used with no other sedative agent, nitrous oxide is the safest analgesia known.
Q. What are the side effects of conscious sedation?
Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, sweating, light headedness.
Q. What are the chief benefits of using nitrous oxide sedation?
Nitrous oxide reduces anxiety as well as pain. It has an extremely short duration so patients can safely drive themselves to and from the medical procedure.
Q. Can I eat before being sedated?
It is recommended that patients not eat for 2 hours prior to nitrous sedation.
Q. Why is it called laughing gas?
It derives its nickname from its ability to give people a case of the giggles.
Q. What will I feel?
That depends on the amount of gas, and length of time the gas is administered, but, typically, patients report four phases of sensations.
- Phase One – You will start by feeling a tingling sensation in your arms and legs similar to the sensation created when your foot falls asleep. This can occur within 30 seconds.
- Phase Two – Next, you may feel a rush of comforting and encompassing warmth.
- Phase Three – A feeling of well-being or happiness will seep through your body, much like experiencing a buzz from alcohol. Some people report hearing a constant, electronic-like thumping or throbbing.
- Phase Four – In this stage, you may find yourself feeling sleepy, or it may be difficult to keep your eyes open.
Q. What is Nitrouseal®?
Nitrouseal® is a medical device that was invented by a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist specifically for administering nitrous sedation in any medical setting without exposing medical personnel to the exhaled nitrous. This is accomplished by utilizing a patented disposable face-mask and breathing circuit (tubing) to administer the inhaled nitrous/oxygen mixture and to then capture and eliminate the exhaled nitrous. The Nitrouseal® System has become the accepted standard for delivering nitrous sedation to kids in most pediatric hospitals nationwide.
NOTE: Most common side effect: 1-2% nausea and vomiting. Less common side effects: headache, sweating, tingling sensation in fingertips
Should be avoided by women in their first trimester of pregnancy, patients with Vitamin B-12 deficiency, patients with severe emphysematous blebs, patients with pneumothorax, and patients with recent (within two weeks) inner ear or eye surgery.