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      Current State of Analgesia and Sedation in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit


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          Critically ill pediatric patients often require complex medical procedures as well as invasive testing and monitoring which tend to be painful and anxiety-provoking, necessitating the provision of analgesia and sedation to reduce stress response. Achieving the optimal combination of adequate analgesia and appropriate sedation can be quite challenging in a patient population with a wide spectrum of ages, sizes, and developmental stages. The added complexities of critical illness in the pediatric population such as evolving pathophysiology, impaired organ function, as well as altered pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics must be considered. Undersedation leaves patients at risk of physical and psychological stress which may have significant long term consequences. Oversedation, on the other hand, leaves the patient at risk of needing prolonged respiratory, specifically mechanical ventilator, support, prolonged ICU stay and hospital admission, and higher risk of untoward effects of analgosedative agents. Both undersedation and oversedation put critically ill pediatric patients at high risk of developing PICU-acquired complications (PACs) like delirium, withdrawal syndrome, neuromuscular atrophy and weakness, post-traumatic stress disorder, and poor rehabilitation. Optimal analgesia and sedation is dependent on continuous patient assessment with appropriately validated tools that help guide the titration of analgosedative agents to effect. Bundled interventions that emphasize minimizing benzodiazepines, screening for delirium frequently, avoiding physical and chemical restraints thereby allowing for greater mobility, and promoting adequate and proper sleep will disrupt the PICU culture of immobility and reduce the incidence of PACs.

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          Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Pain, Agitation/Sedation, Delirium, Immobility, and Sleep Disruption in Adult Patients in the ICU

          To update and expand the 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Pain, Agitation, and Delirium in Adult Patients in the ICU.
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              The Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale: validity and reliability in adult intensive care unit patients.

              Sedative medications are widely used in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Structured assessment of sedation and agitation is useful to titrate sedative medications and to evaluate agitated behavior, yet existing sedation scales have limitations. We measured inter-rater reliability and validity of a new 10-level (+4 "combative" to -5 "unarousable") scale, the Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale (RASS), in two phases. In phase 1, we demonstrated excellent (r = 0.956, lower 90% confidence limit = 0.948; kappa = 0.73, 95% confidence interval = 0.71, 0.75) inter-rater reliability among five investigators (two physicians, two nurses, and one pharmacist) in adult ICU patient encounters (n = 192). Robust inter-rater reliability (r = 0.922-0.983) (kappa = 0.64-0.82) was demonstrated for patients from medical, surgical, cardiac surgery, coronary, and neuroscience ICUs, patients with and without mechanical ventilation, and patients with and without sedative medications. In validity testing, RASS correlated highly (r = 0.93) with a visual analog scale anchored by "combative" and "unresponsive," including all patient subgroups (r = 0.84-0.98). In the second phase, after implementation of RASS in our medical ICU, inter-rater reliability between a nurse educator and 27 RASS-trained bedside nurses in 101 patient encounters was high (r = 0.964, lower 90% confidence limit = 0.950; kappa = 0.80, 95% confidence interval = 0.69, 0.90) and very good for all subgroups (r = 0.773-0.970, kappa = 0.66-0.89). Correlations between RASS and the Ramsay sedation scale (r = -0.78) and the Sedation Agitation Scale (r = 0.78) confirmed validity. Our nurses described RASS as logical, easy to administer, and readily recalled. RASS has high reliability and validity in medical and surgical, ventilated and nonventilated, and sedated and nonsedated adult ICU patients.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                J Clin Med
                J Clin Med
                Journal of Clinical Medicine
                23 April 2021
                May 2021
                : 10
                : 9
                : 1847
                Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave., Boston, MA 02115, USA; Chinyere.Egbuta@ 123456childrens.harvard.edu
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: Keira.Mason@ 123456childrens.harvard.edu ; Tel.: +1-(617)-355-2339
                Author information
                © 2021 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 27 February 2021
                : 20 April 2021

                analgesia,sedation,picu,critically ill pediatric patient,picu-acquired complications,delirium,withdrawal


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