Home > Journals > Minerva Anestesiologica > Past Issues > Minerva Anestesiologica 2011 January;77(1) > Minerva Anestesiologica 2011 January;77(1):59-63



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Minerva Anestesiologica 2011 January;77(1):59-63


language: English

Time to wake up the patients in the ICU: a crazy idea or common sense?

Strøm T., Toft P.

Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Odense University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark, Odense C, Denmark


With the first generation of ventilators, it was often necessary to sedate patients to avoid dyssynchrony between patient and ventilator. The standard treatment of patients in need of mechanical ventilation has therefore traditionally included sedation. Modern ventilators are able to simulate the patients breathing efforts to a higher degree, and therefore, deep sedation is no longer necessary. In the last decade, support has grown for a reduction in the use of sedation. The focus has been placed on the correlation between the depth of sedation and the length of mechanical ventilation. It has been shown that a daily wake up trial reduced the time that patients were dependent on mechanical ventilation. Additionally, it has been shown that combining both a spontaneous breathing trial and a daily wake up trial reduced the mechanical ventilation time compared to a spontaneous breathing trial alone. We have recently shown in a randomized study that the use of no sedation, compared to the standard treatment with sedation and a daily wake up trial, reduced the time that patients required mechanical ventilation, the length of the patients’ stay in the intensive care unit, and the total length of the hospital stay. All evidence indicates that the use of sedative drugs should be reduced, patients should be mobilized, and each patient’s needs should be evaluated on a daily basis to optimize the care of each individual patient.

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