Anaesthesia is a reversible state of pharmacologically controlled sleep with reduction in cortical activity. At sufficient anaesthetic depth there is absence of conscious awareness and recall, and no sensory, motor or autonomic response to stimulation.
This term is used to illustrate an equilibrium between the three constituents of an anaesthetic: anaesthesia (sleep), analgesia and paralysis. The three interact and the separation is more conceptual than clinical.
Sedation is a state of sleepiness but preserved consciousness. Ideally, there is awareness and response to simple commands with verbal contact, but also a degree of amnesia and reduced anxiety.
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