Alcohol withdrawal syndromes in the intensive care unit

Maryclare Sarff, Jeffrey A. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article reviews the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndromes in the intensive care unit as well as the literature on the optimal pharmacologic strategies for treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndromes in the critically ill. Treatment of alcohol withdrawal in the intensive care unit mirrors that of the general acute care wards and detoxification centers. In addition to adequate supportive care, benzodiazepines administered in a symptom-triggered fashion, guided by the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment of Alcohol scale, revised (CIWA-Ar), still seem to be the optimal strategy in the intensive care unit. In cases of benzodiazepine resistance, numerous options are available, including high individual doses of benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and propofol. Intensivists should be familiar with the diagnosis and treatment strategies for alcohol withdrawal syndromes in the intensive care unit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S494-S501
JournalCritical care medicine
Volume38
Issue numberSUPPL. 9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2010

Keywords

  • Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
  • Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment of Alcohol scale
  • barbiturates
  • benzodiazepine
  • detoxification
  • intensive care unit
  • pharmacology
  • propofol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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