Sedation practices in a cohort of critically ill patients receiving prolonged mechanical ventilation

V. Karir, C. L. Hough, S. Daniel, E. Caldwell, M. M. Treggiari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Background. The aim of this paper was to describe type and amount of sedatives, opioid analgesics and antipsychotics administered to critically ill patients receiving prolonged mechanical ventilation and identify patientspecific factors associated with their administration. Methods. Retrospective cohort study of adult patients mechanically ventilated for ≥14 days over a two-year period. Results. The majority of patients (88%) received lorazepam for sedation (median 14-day dose 168 mg, IQR 25-606). Morphine (median 14-day dose 125 mg, IQR 0-850) and fentanyl (median 14-day dose 2032 mcg, IQR 175-15346) were administered with relative equal frequency. Only 48% of the cohort received anti-psychotics during the first 14 days. Age was inversely associated with cumulative dose of lorazepam equivalents (ratio 0.97; 95% CI 0.95-0.99), propofol (ratio 0.93; 95% CI 0.89-0.96), and morphine equivalents (ratio 0.97; 95% CI 0.96-0.98). Substance abuse was associated with cumulative dose of lorazepam (ratio 3.37; 95% CI 1.14-8.21) and morphine equivalents (ratio 3.09; 95% CI 1.48-6.44). Ethanol abuse was associated with >50% lower cumulative dose of morphine equivalents (ratio 0.47; 95% CI 0.25-0.87). Conclusion. In critically ill patients receiving prolonged ventilation, history of substance abuse predicted a 3-fold increase in 14-day cumulative dose of sedatives and opioids used. Conversely, older age was associated with decreased use of sedatives and opioids and history of alcohol abuse was only associated with decreased opioid use. Overall, patients receiving prolonged mechanical ventilation appeared to consume high cumulative doses of sedatives and opioids, with less frequent use of antipsychotics. Accounting for patient characteristics may help identify individuals with varying sedative needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-809
Number of pages9
JournalMinerva Anestesiologica
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 6 2012



  • Analgesics/opioids
  • And dosage
  • Critical care
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Sedatives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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