Sedation and analgesia in German intensive care units: how is it done in reality? Results of a patient-based survey of analgesia and sedation
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This study carried out the first patient-oriented survey on the practice of analgesia and sedation in German intensive care units, examining whether the goals of early spontaneous breathing and awake, cooperative patients are achieved.
A postal survey was sent to 261 hospitals in Germany. Each hospital received three patient-oriented forms with questions regarding current agents and techniques for analgesia and sedation of a specific patient. Responses were obtained from 220 (84%) hospitals which returned 305 questionnaires.
Patients' Ramsay sedation scale was significantly higher in all phases of analgesia and sedation, indicating that the patients were more deeply sedated than currently intended by the therapist. Propofol was used for most of the patients during short-term sedation (57%) and during weaning (48%). The preferred agent for sedation longer than 72 h was midazolam (66%).
The choice of agents and techniques for analgesia and sedation in the intensive care unit thus follows the German guidelines. The fact that the patients were more deeply sedated than intended by the therapist in all phases of sedation may be due to the low use of sedation scales and clinical practice guidelines or to the lack of training in using these techniques.