Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC)

MAC stands for monitored anesthesia care. MAC usually means a tube is not put in your trachea (windpipe). MAC may also be called moderate sedation. MAC usually involves giving intravenous anesthetic drugs, oxygen, watching vital signs and standard patient monitoring procedures similar to those used during a general anesthetic. MAC can be done without going to the operating room.

MAC is typically used for small procedures that cannot be done with only local anesthesia. MAC usually means lower doses of anesthetic drugs. The recovery period tends to be shorter. The drugs used cause a lower level of awareness. This means you are partially awake and your reflexes are intact. You may hear what is being said and feel some pressure, but should not feel pain. The drugs used may affect your ability to remember the procedure.

If you have depressed consciousness and lose some protective reflexes, this is called deep sedation. If you become unconscious and fall completely asleep, this is general anesthesia. In both deep sedation and general anesthesia, the caregivers must make sure that your airway remains open.

During MAC, the sedation-trained caregivers will:

  • Give medications which may include:

  • Sedatives.

  • Analgesics.

  • Hypnotics.

  • Other medications which are needed to keep you comfortable, safe and secure.

  • Give local anesthetic to numb the procedural site.

  • Monitor your level of consciousness.

  • Monitor your blood pressure.

  • Monitor your heart rate and rhythm.

  • Monitor your respirations and oxygen levels.

  • Monitor your airway.

  • Monitor your level of pain.

  • Evaluate and treat problems which may occur.