Moderate-dose sedation and analgesia during targeted temperature management after cardiac arrest.

Document Type


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Critical Care

Journal Title

Neurocritical care

MeSH Headings

Adult, Aged, Analgesia, Conscious Sedation, Female, Heart Arrest, Humans, Hypothermia, Induced, Male, Middle Aged, Retrospective Studies, Treatment Outcome


BACKGROUND: Sedation and analgesia regimens during targeted temperature management (TTM), after cardiac arrest varies widely, are poorly described in the literature and may have a negative impact on outcome. Since implementing TTM in 2005, we have used moderate-dose sedation and describe our experience with this approach.

METHODS: In this retrospective review, we included patients treated with TTM for cardiac arrest at our institution for 2008-2012. Patients received TTM if they did not follow verbal commands following cardiac arrest, regardless of place of arrest or rhythm. Utstein-compatible data were prospectively entered into the International Cardiac Arrest Registry, supplemented by review of nursing, pharmacy, and physical therapy records. We report analgesic and sedative medications and doses during the 24 h of active TTM at 33 °C, resource utilization, and important clinical events.

RESULTS: 166 patients treated with TTM after in- and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest with complete data were included. Overall survival was 42 %, median time to following commands was 3 h after rewarming (-6, 14), time to spontaneous breathing trial was 19 h (5-35), time to extubation was 28 h (9-60), and 59 % of survivors were discharged directly home at 13 (10-20) days. The incidence of seizure was 6 %, septic shock 4 %, and pneumonia 32 %. Four survivors required tracheostomy at 8, 8, 12, and 16 days.

CONCLUSIONS: A moderate-dose sedation and analgesia regimen was well tolerated and effective during therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest and is an effective alternative to very deep sedation. We recommend more complete description of sedation and analgesia protocols in future studies, including expanded outcome reporting to include variables affected by sedation therapy. Further study is required to define which sedation approach for TTM may be best.



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