The effect of an algorithm-based sedation guideline on the duration of mechanical ventilation in an Australian intensive care unit

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Journal Article
Intensive Care Medicine, 2006, 32 (10), pp. 1506 - 1514
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Objective: To examine the effect of an algorithm-based sedation guideline developed in a North American intensive care unit (ICU) on the duration of mechanical ventilation of patients in an Australian ICU. Design and setting: The intervention was tested in a pre-intervention, post-intervention comparative investigation in a 14-bed adult intensive care unit. Patients: Adult mechanically ventilated patients were selected consecutively (n = 322). The pre-intervention and post-intervention groups were similar except for a higher number of patients with a neurological diagnosis in the pre-intervention group. Intervention: An algorithm-based sedation guideline including a sedation scale was introduced using a multifaceted implementation strategy. Measurements and results: The median duration of ventilation was 5.6 days in the post-intervention group, compared with 4.8 days for the pre-intervention group (P = 0.99). The length of stay was 8.2 days in the post-intervention group versus 7.1 days in the pre-intervention group (P = 0.04). There were no statistically significant differences for the other secondary outcomes, including the score on the Experience of Treatment in ICU 7 item questionnaire, number of tracheostomies and number of self-extubations. Records of compliance to recording the sedation score during both phases revealed that patients were slightly more deeply sedated when the guideline was used. Conclusions: The use of the algorithm-based sedation guideline did not reduce duration of mechanical ventilation in the setting of this study. © 2006 Springer-Verlag.
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