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1.  Safety and efficacy of analgesia-based sedation with remifentanil versus standard hypnotic-based regimens in intensive care unit patients with brain injuries: a randomised, controlled trial [ISRCTN50308308] 
Critical Care  2004;8(4):R268-R280.
This randomised, open-label, observational, multicentre, parallel group study assessed the safety and efficacy of analgesia-based sedation using remifentanil in the neuro-intensive care unit.
Patients aged 18–80 years admitted to the intensive care unit within the previous 24 hours, with acute brain injury or after neurosurgery, intubated, expected to require mechanical ventilation for 1–5 days and requiring daily downward titration of sedation for assessment of neurological function were studied. Patients received one of two treatment regimens. Regimen one consisted of analgesia-based sedation, in which remifentanil (initial rate 9 μg kg-1 h-1) was titrated before the addition of a hypnotic agent (propofol [0.5 mg kg-1 h-1] during days 1–3, midazolam [0.03 mg kg-1 h-1] during days 4 and 5) (n = 84). Regimen two consisted of hypnotic-based sedation: hypnotic agent (propofol days 1–3; midazolam days 4 and 5) and fentanyl (n = 37) or morphine (n = 40) according to routine clinical practice. For each regimen, agents were titrated to achieve optimal sedation (Sedation–Agitation Scale score 1–3) and analgesia (Pain Intensity score 1–2).
Overall, between-patient variability around the time of neurological assessment was statistically significantly smaller when using remifentanil (remifentanil 0.44 versus fentanyl 0.86 [P = 0.024] versus morphine 0.98 [P = 0.006]. Overall, mean neurological assessment times were significantly shorter when using remifentanil (remifentanil 0.41 hour versus fentanyl 0.71 hour [P = 0.001] versus morphine 0.82 hour [P < 0.001]). Patients receiving the remifentanil-based regimen were extubated significantly faster than those treated with morphine (1.0 hour versus 1.93 hour, P = 0.001) but there was no difference between remifentanil and fentanyl. Remifentanil was effective, well tolerated and provided comparable haemodynamic stability to that of the hypnotic-based regimen. Over three times as many users rated analgesia-based sedation with remifentanil as very good or excellent in facilitating assessment of neurological function compared with the hypnotic-based regimen.
Analgesia-based sedation with remifentanil permitted significantly faster and more predictable awakening for neurological assessment. Analgesia-based sedation with remifentanil was very effective, well tolerated and had a similar adverse event and haemodynamic profile to those of hypnotic-based regimens when used in critically ill neuro-intensive care unit patients for up to 5 days.
PMCID: PMC522854  PMID: 15312228
analgesia-based sedation; fentanyl; intensive care; morphine; remifentanil
2.  Sedation in the intensive care unit with remifentanil/propofol versus midazolam/fentanyl: a randomised, open-label, pharmacoeconomic trial 
Critical Care  2006;10(3):R91.
Remifentanil is an opioid with a unique pharmacokinetic profile. Its organ-independent elimination and short context-sensitive half time of 3 to 4 minutes lead to a highly predictable offset of action. We tested the hypothesis that with an analgesia-based sedation regimen with remifentanil and propofol, patients after cardiac surgery reach predefined criteria for discharge from the intensive care unit (ICU) sooner, resulting in shorter duration of time spent in the ICU, compared to a conventional regimen consisting of midazolam and fentanyl. In addition, the two regimens were compared regarding their costs.
In this prospective, open-label, randomised, single-centre study, a total of 80 patients (18 to 75 years old), who had undergone cardiac surgery, were postoperatively assigned to one of two treatment regimens for sedation in the ICU for 12 to 72 hours. Patients in the remifentanil/propofol group received remifentanil (6- max. 60 μg kg-1 h-1; dose exceeds recommended labelling). Propofol (0.5 to 4.0 mg kg-1 h-1) was supplemented only in the case of insufficient sedation at maximal remifentanil dose. Patients in the midazolam/fentanyl group received midazolam (0.02 to 0.2 mg kg-1 h-1) and fentanyl (1.0 to 7.0 μg kg-1 h-1). For treatment of pain after extubation, both groups received morphine and/or non-opioid analgesics.
The time intervals (mean values ± standard deviation) from arrival at the ICU until extubation (20.7 ± 5.2 hours versus 24.2 h ± 7.0 hours) and from arrival until eligible discharge from the ICU (46.1 ± 22.0 hours versus 62.4 ± 27.2 hours) were significantly (p < 0.05) shorter in the remifentanil/propofol group. Overall costs of the ICU stay per patient were equal (approximately €1,700 on average).
Compared with midazolam/fentanyl, a remifentanil-based regimen for analgesia and sedation supplemented with propofol significantly reduced the time on mechanical ventilation and allowed earlier discharge from the ICU, at equal overall costs.
PMCID: PMC1550941  PMID: 16780597
3.  Remifentanil versus fentanyl for analgesia based sedation to provide patient comfort in the intensive care unit: a randomized, double-blind controlled trial [ISRCTN43755713] 
Critical Care  2003;8(1):R1-R11.
This double-blind, randomized, multicentre study was conducted to compare the efficacy and safety of remifentanil and fentanyl for intensive care unit (ICU) sedation and analgesia.
Intubated cardiac, general postsurgical or medical patients (aged ≥ 18 years), who were mechanically ventilated for 12–72 hours, received remifentanil (9 μg/kg per hour; n = 77) or fentanyl (1.5 μg/kg per hour; n = 75). Initial opioid titration was supplemented with propofol (0.5 mg/kg per hour), if required, to achieve optimal sedation (i.e. a Sedation–Agitation Scale score of 4).
The mean percentages of time in optimal sedation were 88.3% for remifentanil and 89.3% for fentanyl (not significant). Patients with a Sedation–Agitation Scale score of 4 exhibited significantly less between-patient variability in optimal sedation on remifentanil (variance ratio of fentanyl to remifentanil 1.84; P = 0.009). Of patients who received fentanyl 40% required propofol, as compared with 35% of those who received remifentanil (median total doses 683 mg and 378 mg, respectively; P = 0.065). Recovery was rapid (median time to extubation: 1.1 hours for remifentanil and 1.3 hours for fentanyl; not significant). Remifentanil patients who experienced pain did so for significantly longer during extubation (6.5% of the time versus 1.4%; P = 0.013), postextubation (10.2% versus 3.6%; P = 0.001) and post-treatment (13.5% versus 5.1%; P = 0.001), but they exhibited similar haemodynamic stability with no significant differences in adverse event incidence.
Analgesia based sedation with remifentanil titrated to response provided effective sedation and rapid extubation without the need for propofol in most patients. Fentanyl was similar, probably because the dosing algorithm demanded frequent monitoring and adjustment, thereby preventing over-sedation. Rapid offset of analgesia with remifentanil resulted in a greater incidence of pain, highlighting the need for proactive pain management when transitioning to longer acting analgesics, which is difficult within a double-blind study but would be quite possible under normal circumstances.
PMCID: PMC420059  PMID: 14975049
analgesia; analgesia based sedation; critical care; fentanyl; propofol; remifentanil; renal function; sedation
4.  Dexmedetomidine use in the ICU: Are we there yet? 
Critical Care  2013;17(3):320.
Expanded abstract
Jakob SM, Ruokonen E, Grounds RM, Sarapohja T, Garratt C, Pocock SJ, Bratty JR, Takala J; Dexmedeto midine for Long-Term Sedation Investigators: Dexmedetomidine vesus midazolam or propofol for sedation during prolonged mechanical ventilation: two randomized controlled trials. JAMA 2012, 307:1151-1160.
Long-term sedation with midazolam or propofol in intensive care units (ICUs) has serious adverse effects. Dexmedetomidine, an alpha-2 agonist available for ICU sedation, may reduce the duration of mechanical ventilation and enhance patient comfort.
The objective was to determine the efficacy of dexmedetomidine versus midazolam or propofol (preferred usual care) in maintaining sedation, reducing duration of mechanical ventilation, and improving patients' interaction with nursing care.
Two phase 3 multicenter, randomized, double-blind trials were conducted.
The MIDEX (Midazolam vs. Dexmedetomidine) trial compared midazolam with dexmedetomidine in ICUs of 44 centers in nine European countries. The PRODEX (Propofol vs. Dexmedetomidine) trial compared propofol with dexmedetomidine in 31 centers in six European countries and two centers in Russia.
The subjects were adult ICU patients who were receiving mechanical ventilation and who needed light to moderate sedation for more than 24 hours.
After enrollment, 251 and 249 subjects were randomly assigned midazolam and dexmedetomidine, respectively, in the MIDEX trial, and 247 and 251 subjects were randomly assigned propofol and dexmedetomidine, respectively, in the PRODEX trial. Sedation with dexmedetomidine, midazolam, or propofol; daily sedation stops; and spontaneous breathing trials were employed.
For each trial, investigators tested whether dexmedetomidine was noninferior to control with respect to proportion of time at target sedation level (measured by Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale) and superior to control with respect to duration of mechanical ventilation. Secondary end points were the ability of the patient to communicate pain (measured by using a visual analogue scale [VAS]) and length of ICU stay. Time at target sedation was analyzed in per-protocol (midazolam, n = 233, versus dexmedetomidine, n = 227; propofol, n = 214, versus dexmedetomidine, n = 223) population.
Dexmedetomidine/midazolam ratio in time at target sedation was 1.07 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.97 to 1.18), and dexmedetomidine/propofol ratio in time at target sedation was 1.00 (95% CI 0.92 to 1.08). Median duration of mechanical ventilation appeared shorter with dexmedetomidine (123 hours, interquartile range (IQR) 67 to 337) versus midazolam (164 hours, IQR 92 to 380; P = 0.03) but not with dexmedetomidine (97 hours, IQR 45 to 257) versus propofol (118 hours, IQR 48 to 327; P = 0.24). Patient interaction (measured by using VAS) was improved with dexmedetomidine (estimated score difference versus midazolam 19.7, 95% CI 15.2 to 24.2; P <0.001; and versus propofol 11.2, 95% CI 6.4 to 15.9; P <0.001). Lengths of ICU and hospital stays and mortality rates were similar. Dexmedetomidine versus midazolam patients had more hypotension (51/247 [20.6%] versus 29/250 [11.6%]; P = 0.007) and bradycardia (35/247 [14.2%] versus 13/250 [5.2%]; P <0.001).
Among ICU patients receiving prolonged mechanical ventilation, dexmedetomidine was not inferior to midazolam and propofol in maintaining light to moderate sedation. Dexmedetomidine reduced duration of mechanical ventilation compared with midazolam and improved the ability of patients to communicate pain compared with midazolam and propofol. Greater numbers of adverse effects were associated with dexmedetomidine.
PMCID: PMC3706806  PMID: 23731973
5.  Respiratory effects of dexmedetomidine in the surgical patient requiring intensive care 
Critical Care  2000;4(5):302-308.
The respiratory effects of dexmedetomidine were retrospectively examined in 33 postsurgical patients involved in a randomised, placebo-controlled trial after extubation in the intensive care unit (ICU). Morphine requirements were reduced by over 50% in patients receiving dexmedetomidine. There were no differences in respiratory rates, oxygen saturations, arterial pH and arterial partial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO2) between the groups. Interestingly the arterial partial oxygen tension (PaO2) : fractional inspired oxygen (FIO2) ratios were statistically significantly higher in the dexmedetomidine group. Dexmedetomidine provides important postsurgical analgesia and appears to have no clinically important adverse effects on respiration in the surgical patient who requires intensive care.
The α2-agonist dexmedetomidine is a new class of sedative drug that is being investigated for use in ICU settings. It is an effective agent for the management of sedation and analgesia after cardiac, general, orthopaedic, head and neck, oncological and vascular surgery in the ICU [1]. Cardiovascular stability was demonstrated, with significant reductions in rate-pressure product during sedation and over the extubation period.
Dexmedetomidine possesses several properties that may additionally benefit those critically ill patients who require sedation. In spontaneously breathing volunteers, intravenous dexmedetomidine caused marked sedation with only mild reductions in resting ventilation at higher doses [2]. Dexmedetomidine reduces the haemodynamic response to intubation and extubation [3,4,5] and attenuates the stress response to surgery [6], as a result of the α2-mediated reduction in sympathetic tone. Therefore, it should be possible to continue sedation with dexmedetomidine over the stressful extubation period without concerns over respiratory depression, while ensuring that haemodynamic stability is preserved.
The present study is a retrospective analysis of the respiratory response to dexmedetomidine in 33 postsurgical patients (who were involved in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial [1]) after extubation in the ICU.
Patients who participated in the present study were admitted after surgery to our general or cardiothoracic ICUs, and were expected to receive at least 6 h of postsurgical sedation and artificial ventilation.
On arrival in the ICU after surgery, patients were randomized to receive either dexmedetomidine or placebo (normal saline) with rescue sedation and analgesia being provided, only if clinically needed, with midazolam and morphine boluses, respectively. Sedation was titrated to maintain a Ramsay Sedation Score [7] of 3 or greater while the patients were intubated, and infusions of study drug were continued for a maximum of 6 h after extubation to achieve a Ramsay Sedation Score of 2 or greater.
The patients were intubated and ventilated with oxygen-enriched air to attain acceptable arterial blood gases, and extubation occurred when clinically indicated. All patients received supplemental oxygen after extubation, which was delivered by a fixed performance device. Assessment of pain was by direct communication with the patient.
Results are expressed as mean ± standard deviation unless otherwise stated. Patient characteristics, operative details and morphine usage were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U-test. Statistical differences for respiratory measurements between the two groups were determined using analysis of variance for repeated measures, with the Bonferroni test for post hoc comparisons.
Of the 40 patients who participated in the study, seven patients could not be included in the analysis of respiratory function because they did not receive a study drug infusion after extubation. Consequently, data from 33 patients are used in the analysis of respiratory function; 16 received dexmedetomidine and 17 placebo. Inadequate arterial blood gas analysis was available in five patients (two from the dexmedetomidine group, and three from the placebo group). There were no significant differences in patient characteristics and operative details between the groups.
Requirements for morphine were reduced by more than 50% in patients receiving dexmedetomidine when compared with placebo after extubation (0.003 ± 0.004 vs 0.008 ± 0.006 mg/kg per h; P= 0.040).
There were no statistically significant differences between placebo and dexmedetomidine for oxygen saturations measured by pulse oximetry (P= 0.26), respiratory rate (P= 0.16; Fig. 1), arterial pH (P= 0.77) and PaCO2 (P= 0.75; Fig. 2) for the 6 h after extubation.
The dexmedetomidine group showed significantly higher PaO2: FIO2 ratios throughout the 6-h intubation (P= 0.036) and extubation (P= 0.037) periods (Fig. 3). There were no adverse respiratory events seen in either the dexmedetomidine or placebo group.
Respiratory rate for the 6-h periods before and after extubation. (Filled circle) Dexmedetomidine; (Empty circle) placebo. Values are expressed as mean ± standard deviation.
PaCO2 (PCO2) for the 6-h periods before and after extubation, and baseline values (B) on admission to ICU immediately after surgery. (Filled circle) Dexmedetomidine; (Empty circle) placebo. Values are expressed as mean ± standard deviation.
PaO2 : FIO2 ratio for the 6-h periods before and after extubation, and baseline values (B) on admission to ICU immediately after surgery. (Filled circle) Dexmedetomidine; (Empty circle) placebo. Values are expressed as mean ± standard deviation.
Lack of respiratory depression in patients sedated with α2-adrenoceptor agonists was first reported by Maxwell [8] in a study investigating the respiratory effects of clonidine. However, more recent data suggests that clonidine may cause mild respiratory depression in humans [9], and α2-adrenoceptor agonists are well known to produce profound intraoperative hypoxaemia in sheep [10,11]. The effects of dexmedetomidine on other ventilation parameters also appear to be species specific [12].
Belleville et al [2] investigated the ventilatory effects of a 2-min intravenous infusion of dexmedetomidine on human volunteers. According to those investigators, minute ventilation and arterial PaCO2 were mildly decreased and increased, respectively. There was a rightward shift and depression of the hypercapnic response with infusions of 1.0 and 2.0 μg/kg.
Previous studies that investigated the respiratory effects of dexmedetomidine have only been performed in healthy human volunteers, who have received either single intramuscular injections or short (= 10 min) intravenous infusions of dexmedetomidine. It is therefore reassuring that no deleterious clinical effects on respiration and gas exchange were seen in the patients we studied, who were receiving long-term infusions. However, there are important limitations to the present results. No dose/response curve for dexmedetomidine can be formulated from the data, and further investigation is probably ethically difficult to achieve in the spontaneously ventilating intensive care patient. We also have no data on the ventilatory responses to hypercapnia and hypoxia, which would also be difficult to examine practically and ethically. The placebo group received more than twice as much morphine as patients receiving dexmedetomidine infusions after extubation, but there were no differences in respiratory rate or PaCO2 between the groups. We can not therefore determine from this study whether dexmedetomidine has any benefits over morphine from a respiratory perspective.
There were no differences in oxygen saturations between the groups because the administered oxygen concentration was adjusted to maintain satisfactory gas exchange. Interestingly, however, there were statistically significant higher PaO2 : FIO2 ratios in the dexmedetomidine group. This ratio allows for the variation in administered oxygen to patients during the study period, and gives some clinical indication of alveolar gas exchange. However, this variable was not a primary outcome variable for the present study, and may represent a type 1 error, although post hoc analysis reveals that the data have 80% power to detect a significant difference (α value 0.05). Further studies are obviously required.
Sedation continued over the extubation period, has been shown to reduce haemodynamic disturbances and myocardial ischaemia [13]. We have previously shown [1] that dexmedetomidine provides cardiovascular stability, with a reduction in rate-pressure product over the extubation period. A sedative agent that has analgesic properties, minimal effects on respiration and offers ischaemia protection would have enormous potential in the ICU. Dexmedetomidine may fulfill all of these roles, but at present we can only conclude that dexmedetomidine has no deleterious clinical effects on respiration when used in doses that are sufficient to provide adequate sedation and effective analgesia in the surgical population requiring intensive care.
PMCID: PMC29047  PMID: 11056756
α2-Adrenoceptor agonist; analgesia; dexmedetomidine; intensive care; postoperative; respiratory; sedation
6.  Cost-consequence analysis of remifentanil-based analgo-sedation vs. conventional analgesia and sedation for patients on mechanical ventilation in the Netherlands 
Critical Care  2010;14(6):R195.
Hospitals are increasingly forced to consider the economics of technology use. We estimated the incremental cost-consequences of remifentanil-based analgo-sedation (RS) vs. conventional analgesia and sedation (CS) in patients requiring mechanical ventilation (MV) in the intensive care unit (ICU), using a modelling approach.
A Markov model was developed to describe patient flow in the ICU. The hourly probabilities to move from one state to another were derived from UltiSAFE, a Dutch clinical study involving ICU patients with an expected MV-time of two to three days requiring analgesia and sedation. Study medication was either: CS (morphine or fentanyl combined with propofol, midazolam or lorazepam) or: RS (remifentanil, combined with propofol when required). Study drug costs were derived from the trial, whereas all other ICU costs were estimated separately in a Dutch micro-costing study. All costs were measured from the hospital perspective (price level of 2006). Patients were followed in the model for 28 days. We also studied the sub-population where weaning had started within 72 hours.
The average total 28-day costs were €15,626 with RS versus €17,100 with CS, meaning a difference in costs of €1474 (95% CI -2163, 5110). The average length-of-stay (LOS) in the ICU was 7.6 days in the RS group versus 8.5 days in the CS group (difference 1.0, 95% CI -0.7, 2.6), while the average MV time was 5.0 days for RS versus 6.0 days for CS. Similar differences were found in the subgroup analysis.
Compared to CS, RS significantly decreases the overall costs in the ICU.
Trial Registration NCT00158873.
PMCID: PMC3219979  PMID: 21040558
7.  Intravenous Remifentanil versus Epidural Ropivacaine with Sufentanil for Labour Analgesia: A Retrospective Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112283.
Remifentanil with appropriate pharmacological properties seems to be an ideal alternative to epidural analgesia during labour. A retrospective cohort study was undertaken to assess the efficacy and safety of remifentanil intravenous patient-controlled analgesia (IVPCA) compared with epidural analgesia. Medical records of 370 primiparas who received remifentanil IVPCA or epidural analgesia were reviewed. Pain and sedation scores, overall satisfaction, the extent of pain control, maternal side effects and neonatal outcome as primary observational indicators were collected. There was a significant decline of pain scores in both groups. Pain reduction was greater in the epidural group throughout the whole study period (0∼180 min) (P<0.0001), and pain scores in the remifentanil group showed an increasing trend one hour later. The remifentanil group had a lower SpO2 (P<0.0001) and a higher sedation score (P<0.0001) within 30 min after treatment. The epidural group had a higher overall satisfaction score (3.8±0.4 vs. 3.7±0.6, P = 0.007) and pain relief score (2.9±0.3 vs. 2.8±0.4, P<0.0001) compared with the remifentanil group. There was no significant difference on side effects between the two groups, except that a higher rate of dizziness (1% vs. 21.8%, P<0.0001) was observed during remifentanil analgesia. And logistic regression analysis demonstrated that nausea, vomiting were associated with oxytocin usage and instrumental delivery, and dizziness was associated to the type and duration of analgesia. Neonatal outcomes such as Apgar scores and umbilical-cord blood gas analysis were within the normal range, but umbilical pH and base excess of neonatus in the remifentanil group were significantly lower. Remifentanil IVPCA provides poorer efficacy on labor analgesia than epidural analgesia, with more sedation on parturients and a trend of newborn acidosis. Despite these adverse effects, remifentanil IVPCA can still be an alternative option for labor analgesia under the condition of one-to-one bedside care, continuous monitoring, oxygen supply and preparation for neonatal resuscitation.
PMCID: PMC4227805  PMID: 25386749
8.  Effect of ketamine pretreatment for anaesthesia in patients undergoing percutaneous transluminal balloon angioplasty with continuous remifentanil infusion 
Korean Journal of Anesthesiology  2011;61(4):308-314.
An appropriate level of sedation and pharmacological assist are essential during percutaneous transluminal balloon angioplasty (PTA). Ketamine provides good analgesia while preserving airway patency, ventilation, and cardiovascular stability with an opioid sparing effect suggesting that it would be ideal in combination with remifentanil and midazolam in spontaneously breathing patients. We evaluated the effect of a small dose of ketamine added to midazolam and remifentanil on analgesia/sedation for PTA procedures.
Sixty-four patients receiving PTA were enrolled. The Control group received midazolam 1.0 mg i.v. and continuous infusion of remifentanil 0.05 µg/kg/min. The Ketamine group received, in addition, an intravenous bolus of 0.5 mg/kg ketamine. Patients' haemodynamic data were monitored before remifentanil infusion, 5 min after remifentanil infusion, at 1, 3, 5, 30 min after incision, and at admission to the recovery room. Verbal numerical rating scales (VNRS) and sedation [OAA/S (Observer's Assessment of Alertness/Sedation)] scores were also recorded.
The VNRS values at 1, 3, and 5 min after incision and OAA/S scores at 5 min after remifentanil infusion, and 1, 3, and 5 min after incision were lower in the Ketamine group than in the Control group. In the Control group, the VNRS value at 1 min after incision significantly increased and OAA/S values at 3, 5, and 30 min after incision significantly decreased compared to baseline values, while there were no significant changes in the ketamine group.
A small dose of ketamine as an adjunct sedative to the combination of midazolam and remifentanil produced a better quality of sedation and analgesia than without ketamine and provided stable respiration without cardiopulmonary deterioration.
PMCID: PMC3219777  PMID: 22110884
Ketamine; Pain scale; Remifentanil; Sedation
9.  Remifentanil discontinuation and subsequent intensive care unit-acquired infection: a cohort study 
Critical Care  2009;13(2):R60.
Recent animal studies demonstrated immunosuppressive effects of opioid withdrawal resulting in a higher risk of infection. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of remifentanil discontinuation on intensive care unit (ICU)-acquired infection.
This was a prospective observational cohort study performed in a 30-bed medical and surgical university ICU, during a one-year period. All patients hospitalised in the ICU for more than 48 hours were eligible. Sedation was based on a written protocol including remifentanil with or without midazolam. Ramsay score was used to evaluate consciousness. The bedside nurse adjusted sedative infusion to obtain the target Ramsay score. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine risk factors for ICU-acquired infection.
Five hundred and eighty-seven consecutive patients were included in the study. A microbiologically confirmed ICU-acquired infection was diagnosed in 233 (39%) patients. Incidence rate of ICU-acquired infection was 38 per 1000 ICU-days. Ventilator-associated pneumonia was the most frequently diagnosed ICU-acquired infection (23% of study patients). Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most frequently isolated microorganism (30%). Multivariate analysis identified remifentanil discontinuation (odds ratio (OR) = 2.53, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.28 to 4.99, P = 0.007), simplified acute physiology score II at ICU admission (1.01 per point, 95% CI = 1 to 1.03, P = 0.011), mechanical ventilation (4.49, 95% CI = 1.52 to 13.2, P = 0.006), tracheostomy (2.25, 95% CI = 1.13 to 4.48, P = 0.021), central venous catheter (2.9, 95% CI = 1.08 to 7.74, P = 0.033) and length of hospital stay (1.05 per day, 95% CI = 1.03 to 1.08, P < 0.001) as independent risk factors for ICU-acquired infection.
Remifentanil discontinuation is independently associated with ICU-acquired infection.
PMCID: PMC2689508  PMID: 19383164
10.  Effect of an analgo-sedation protocol for neurointensive patients: a two-phase interventional non-randomized pilot study 
Critical Care  2010;14(2):R71.
Sedation protocols are needed for neurointensive patients. The aim of this pilot study was to describe sedation practice at a neurointensive care unit and to assess the feasibility and efficacy of a new sedation protocol. The primary outcomes were a shift from sedation-based to analgesia-based sedation and improved pain management. The secondary outcomes were a reduction in unplanned extubations and duration of sedation.
This was a two-phase (before-after), prospective controlled study at a university-affiliated, 14-bed neurointensive care unit in Denmark. The sample included patients requiring mechanical ventilation for at least 48 hours treated with continuous sedative and analgesic infusions or both. During the observation phase the participants (n = 106) were sedated as usual (non-protocolized), and during the intervention phase the participants (n = 109) were managed according to a new sedation protocol.
Our study showed a shift toward analgo-sedation, suggesting feasibility of the protocol. We found a significant reduction in the use of propofol (P < .001) and midazolam (P = .001) and an increase in fentanyl (P < .001) and remifentanil (P = .003). Patients selected for daily sedation interruption woke up faster, and estimates of pain free patients increased from 56.8% to 82.7% (P < .001), suggesting efficacy of the protocol. The duration of sedation and unplanned extubations were unchanged.
Our pilot study showed feasibility and partial efficacy of our protocol. Some neurointensive patients might not benefit from protocolized practice. We recommend an interdisciplinary effort to target patients requiring less sedation, as issues of oversedation and inadequate pain management still need more attention.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC2887194  PMID: 20403186
11.  Sedation and Analgesia in Intensive Care: A Comparison of Fentanyl and Remifentanil 
Pain Research and Treatment  2011;2011:650320.
Optimal sedation and analgesia are of key importance in intensive care. The aim of this study was to assess the quality of sedoanalgesia and outcome parameters in regimens containing midazolam and either fentanyl or remifentanil. A prospective, randomized, open-label, controlled trial was carried out in the ICU unit of a large teaching hospital in Istanbul over a 9-month period. Thirty-four patients were randomly allocated to receive either a remifentanil-midazolam regimen (R group, n = 17) or a fentanyl-midazolam regimen (F group, n = 17). A strong correlation between Riker Sedation-Agitation Scale (SAS) and Ramsey Scale (RS) measurements was observed. Comparatively, remifentanil provided significantly more potent and rapid analgesia based on Behavioral-Physiological Scale (BPS) measurements and a statistically nonsignificantly shorter time to discharge. On the other hand, remifentanil also caused a significantly sharper fall in heart rate within the first six hours of treatment.
PMCID: PMC3197257  PMID: 22110929
12.  Adjunctive remifentanil infusion in deeply sedated and paralyzed ICU patients during fiberoptic bronchoscopy procedure: a prospective, randomized, controlled study 
Even with an adequate pain assessment, critically ill patients under sedation experience pain during procedures in the intensive care unit (ICU). We evaluated the effects of adjunctive administration of Remifentanil, a short-acting drug, in deeply sedated patient on variation of Bispectral Index (BIS) during a fiberoptic bronchoscopy.
A prospective, randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 18-bed ICU. Patients needing a tracheal fibroscopy under deep sedation (midazolam (0.1 mg/kg per hour) fentanyl (4 μg/kg per hour)) and neuromuscular blocking (atracurium 0.5 mg/kg) were included in the study. A continuous monitoring of BIS, arterial pressure, and heart rate were realized before, during, and after the fiberoptic exam. An adjunctive continuous placebo or Remifentanil infusion was started just before the fiberoptic exam with a target effect-site concentration of 4 ng/ml using a Base Primea pump.
Mean arterial pressure and heart rates were comparable between the placebo and Remifentanil groups at all times of the procedure. We did not observe differences in the variation of BIS values between the two groups during procedure. We described no change in BIS values relative to the placebo group in this population.
In deeply sedated and paralyzed patients, receiving analgesic support based on a scale score an additional administration of short-acting analgesic drug, such as Remifentanil, seems not to be necessary for acute pain control.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3487977  PMID: 22800647
Pain; Intensive care; Bispectral index; Remifentanil
13.  Comparison of sedation effectiveness of remifentanil-dexmedetomidine and remifentanil-midazolam combinations and their effects on postoperative cognitive functions in cystoscopies: A randomized clinical trial 
The aim of the study is to compare the effects of remifentanil/dexmedetomidine and remifentanil/midazolam combinations in monitored anesthesia care (MAC) during cystoscopies.
Materials and Methods:
Forty patients who received remifentanil infusion of 0.05 μg kg-1 min-1 for cytoscopy procedure were randomized into two groups: Either dexmedetomidine 1 mg kg-1 (Group D) or midazolam 0.2 mg kg-1 h-1 (Group M) was administered intravenously for the first 10 min. Subsequently, anesthesia was maintained by using the bispectral index as a continuous infusion of dexmedetomidine (0.2-0.7 μg kg-1 h-1) or midazolam (0.05-0.15 μg kg-1 h-1). Heart rate, mean arterial pressure, mini-mental state examination findings, levels of sedation andanalgesia, and the patient's and surgeon's satisfaction were recorded.
Successful sedation and analgesia were achieved in all the patients. We were able to reach the target sedation level faster in Group D (P<0.0001). In Group D, the cognitive functions were less affected than in Group M (P<0.0001). Patient's and surgeon's satisfaction were significantly higher in Group D.
The targeted sedation levels were achieved in a shorter period with dexmedetomidine-remifentanil compared to midazolam-remifentanil. The dexmedetomidine-remifentanil combination was observed to affect the cognitive functions less than midazolam-remifentanil did with shorter recovery times. Besides, patient's and surgeon's satisfaction rates were superior with dexmedetomidine-remifentanil. It was concluded that dexmedetomidine-remifentanil may be a combination of choice for monitored anesthesia care applications in outpatient surgical procedures of short duration.
PMCID: PMC3724369  PMID: 23914211
Dexmedetomidine; midazolam; remifentanil; monitored anesthesia care; mini mental state examination; cystoscopy
14.  Sedative Efficacy of Propofol in Patients Intubated/Ventilated after Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery 
Sedation after open heart surgery is important in preventing stress on the heart. The unique sedative features of propofol prompted us to evaluate its potential clinical role in the sedation of post-CABG patients.
To compare propofol-based sedation to midazolam-based sedation after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Patients and Methods:
Fifty patients who were admitted to the ICU after CABG surgery was randomized into two groups to receive sedation with either midazolam or propofol infusions; and additional analgesia was administered if required. Inclusion criteria were as follows: patients 40-60 years old, hemodynamic stability, ejection fraction (EF) more than 40%; exclusion criteria included patients who required intra-aortic balloon pump or inotropic drugs post-bypass. The same protocol of anesthetic medications was used in both groups. Depth of sedation was monitored using the Ramsay sedation score (RSS). Invasive mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR), arterial blood gas (ABG) and ventilatory parameters were monitored continuously after the start of study drug and until the patients were extubated.
The depth of sedation was almost the same in the two groups (RSS=4.5 in midazolam group vs 4.7 in propofol group; P = 0.259) but the total dose of fentanyl in the midazolam group was significantly more than the propofol group (12.5 mg/hr vs 4 mg/hr) (P = 0.0039). No significant differences were found in MAP (P = 0.51) and HR (P = 0.41) between the groups. The mean extubation time in patients sedated with propofol was shorter than those sedated with midazolam (102 ± 27 min vs 245 ± 42 min, respectively; P < 0.05) but the ICU discharge time was not shorter (47.5 hr vs 36.3 hr, respectively; P = 0.24).
Propofol provided a safe and acceptable sedation for post-CABG surgical patients, significantly reduced the requirement for analgesics, and allowed for more rapid tracheal extubation than midazolam but did not result in earlier ICU discharge.
PMCID: PMC3961039  PMID: 24660162
Propofol; Analgesics; Coronary Artery Bypass; Deep Sedation; Midazolam; Airway Extubation; Length of Stay
15.  Midazolam and propofol used alone or sequentially for long-term sedation in critically ill, mechanically ventilated patients: a prospective, randomized study 
Critical Care  2014;18(3):R122.
Midazolam and propofol used alone for long-term sedation are associated with adverse effects. Sequential use may reduce the adverse effects, and lead to faster recovery, earlier extubation and lower costs. This study evaluates the effects, safety, and cost of midazolam, propofol, and their sequential use for long-term sedation in critically ill mechanically ventilated patients.
A total of 135 patients who required mechanical ventilation for >3 days were randomly assigned to receive midazolam (group M), propofol (group P), or sequential use of both (group M-P). In group M-P, midazolam was switched to propofol until the patients passed the spontaneous breathing trial (SBT) safety screen. The primary endpoints included recovery time, extubation time and mechanical ventilation time. The secondary endpoints were pharmaceutical cost, total cost of ICU stay, and recollection to mechanical ventilation-related events.
The incidence of agitation following cessation of sedation in group M-P was lower than group M (19.4% versus 48.7%, P = 0.01). The mean percentage of adequate sedation and duration of sedation were similar in the three groups. The recovery time, extubation time and mechanical ventilation time of group M were 58.0 (interquartile range (IQR), 39.0) hours, 45.0 (IQR, 24.5) hours, and 192.0 (IQR, 124.0) hours, respectively; these were significantly longer than the other groups, while they were similar between the other two groups. In the treatment-received analysis, ICU duration was longer in group M than group M-P (P = 0.016). Using an intention-to-treat analysis and a treatment-received analysis, respectively, the pharmaceutical cost of group M-P was lower than group P (P <0.01) and its ICU cost was lower than group M (P <0.01; P = 0.015). The proportion of group M-P with unbearable memory of the uncomfortable events was lower than in group M (11.7% versus 25.0%, P <0.01), while the proportion with no memory was similar (P >0.05). The incidence of hypotension in group M-P was lower than group (P = 0.01).
Sequential use of midazolam and propofol was a safe and effective sedation protocol, with higher clinical effectiveness and better cost-benefit ratio than midazolam or propofol used alone, for long-term sedation of critically ill mechanically ventilated patients.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN01173443. Registered 25 February 2014.
PMCID: PMC4095601  PMID: 24935517
16.  Offset of pharmacodynamic effects and safety of remifentanil in intensive care unit patients with various degrees of renal impairment 
Critical Care  2003;8(1):R21-R30.
This open label, multicentre study was conducted to assess the times to offset of the pharmacodynamic effects and the safety of remifentanil in patients with varying degrees of renal impairment requiring intensive care.
A total of 40 patients, who were aged 18 years or older and had normal/mildly impaired renal function (estimated creatinine clearance ≥ 50 ml/min; n = 10) or moderate/severe renal impairment (estimated creatinine clearance <50 ml/min; n = 30), were entered into the study. Remifentanil was infused for up to 72 hours (initial rate 6–9 μg/kg per hour), with propofol administered if required, to achieve a target Sedation–Agitation Scale score of 2–4, with no or mild pain.
There was no evidence of increased offset time with increased duration of exposure to remifentanil in either group. The time to offset of the effects of remifentanil (at 8, 24, 48 and 72 hours during scheduled down-titrations of the infusion) were more variable and were statistically significantly longer in the moderate/severe group than in the normal/mild group at 24 hours and 72 hours. These observed differences were not clinically significant (the difference in mean offset at 72 hours was only 16.5 min). Propofol consumption was lower with the remifentanil based technique than with hypnotic based sedative techniques. There were no statistically significant differences between the renal function groups in the incidence of adverse events, and no deaths were attributable to remifentanil use.
Remifentanil was well tolerated, and the offset of pharmacodynamic effects was not prolonged either as a result of renal dysfunction or prolonged infusion up to 72 hours.
PMCID: PMC420060  PMID: 14975051
analgesia based sedation; critical care; offset times; pharmacodynamics; remifentanil; renal function; safety
17.  The place for short-acting opioids: special emphasis on remifentanil 
Critical Care  2008;12(Suppl 3):S5.
Pain is among the worst possible experiences for the critically ill. Therefore, nearly all intensive care patients receive some kind of pain relief, and opioids are most frequently administered. Morphine has a number of important adverse effects, including histamine release, pruritus, constipation, and, in particular, accumulation of morphine-6-glucuronide in patients with renal impairment. Hence, it is not an ideal analgesic for use in critically ill patients. Although the synthetic opioids fentanyl, alfentanil, and sufentanil have better profiles, they undergo hepatic metabolism and their continuous infusion also leads to accumulation and prolonged drug effects. Various attempts have been made to limit these adverse effects, including daily interruption of infusion of sedatives and analgesics, intermittent bolus injections rather than continuous infusions, and selection of a ventilatory support pattern that allows more spontaneous ventilation. However, these techniques at best only limit the effects of drug accumulation, but they do not solve the problem. Another type of approach is to use remifentanil in critically ill patients. Remifentanil is metabolized by unspecific blood and tissue esterases and undergoes rapid metabolism, independent of the duration of infusion or any organ insufficiency. There are data indicating that remifentanil can be used for analgesia and sedation in all kinds of adult intensive care unit patients, and that its use will result in rapid and predictable offset of effect. This may permit both a significant reduction in weaning and extubation times, and clear differentiation between over-sedation and brain dysfunction. This article provides an overview of the use of short-acting opioids in the intensive care unit, with special emphasis on remifentanil. It summarizes the currently available study data regarding remifentanil and provides recommendations for clinical use of this agent.
PMCID: PMC2391266  PMID: 18495056
18.  Remifentanil infusion as a modality for opioid-based anaesthesia in paediatric practice 
Indian Journal of Anaesthesia  2010;54(4):318-323.
This study was designed to compare the intra-operative and post-operative analgesic requirements and side effects of using fentanyl infusion versus remifentanil infusion during short-duration surgical procedures in children. The study comprised of 40 children randomly allocated into two equal groups: fentanyl (F-group) or remifentanil (R-group). Both were administered a continuous intravenous (i.v.) infusion. Anaesthetic recovery was assessed using the Brussels sedation scale every 5 min from the time of entry till discharge from recovery room. Post-operative analgesia was assessed throughout the first three post-operative (PO) hours using observational pain–discomfort scale (OPS) and adverse events were recorded. Haemodynamic variables showed a non-significant difference between both the groups. Patients who received remifentanil showed significantly shorter time to spontaneous respiration, eye opening, extubation and verbalization compared to those who received fentanyl. Discharge time was significantly shorter in R-group, and 18 patients fulfilled criteria for recovery-room discharge at ≤25 min with a significant difference in favour of remifentanil. Fentanyl provided significantly better PO analgesia than remifentanil and children in F-group showed a significantly lower mean cumulative OPS record than those in R-group; however, the number of patients requiring rescue analgesia did not show a significant difference between both the groups. Two cases in F-group and one in R-group had bradycardia, one case in R-group had mild hypotension and PO vomiting had occurred in three patients in the F-group and two patients in the R-group. In conclusion, remifentanil is appropriate for opioid-based anaesthesia for paediatric patients as it provides haemodynamic stability and rapid recovery with minimal post-operative side effects.
PMCID: PMC2943701  PMID: 20882174
Opioid based; paediatric; remifentanil
19.  Non-sedation versus sedation with a daily wake-up trial in critically ill patients receiving mechanical ventilation (NONSEDA Trial): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15(1):499.
Through many years, the standard care has been to use continuous sedation of critically ill patients during mechanical ventilation. However, preliminary randomised clinical trials indicate that it is beneficial to reduce the sedation level. No randomised trial has been conducted comparing sedation with no sedation, a priori powered to have all-cause mortality as primary outcome.
The objective is to assess the benefits and harms of non-sedation versus sedation with a daily wake-up trial in critically ill patients.
The non-sedation (NONSEDA) trial is an investigator-initiated, randomised, clinical, parallel-group, multinational trial designed to include 700 patients from at least six ICUs in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
Inclusion criteria are mechanically ventilated patients with expected duration of mechanical ventilation >24 hours.
Exclusion criteria are non-intubated patients, patients with severe head trauma, coma at admission or status epilepticus, patients treated with therapeutic hypothermia, patients with PaO2/FiO2 < 9 where sedation might be necessary to ensure sufficient oxygenation or place the patient in prone position.
Experimental intervention is non-sedation supplemented with pain management during mechanical ventilation.
Control intervention is sedation with a daily wake-up trial.
The primary outcome will be all cause mortality at 90 days after randomization. Secondary outcomes will be: days until death throughout the total observation period; coma- and delirium-free days; highest RIFLE score; days until discharge from the intensive care unit (within 28 days); days until the participant is without mechanical ventilation (within 28 days); and proportion of patients with a major cardiovascular outcome. Explorative outcomes will be: all cause mortality at 28 days after randomisation; days until discharge from the intensive care unit; days until the participant is without mechanical ventilation; days until discharge from the hospital; organ failure.
Trial size: we will include 700 participants (2 × 350) in order to detect or reject 25% relative risk reduction in mortality with a type I error risk of 5% and a type II error risk of 20% (power at 80%).
The trial investigates potential benefits of non-sedation. This might have large impact on the future treatment of mechanically ventilated critically ill patients.
Trial register NCT0196768, 09.01.2014.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-499) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4307177  PMID: 25528350
Critically ill patients; Non-sedation; Daily wake-up trial; Mechanical ventilation; Acute kidney injury; Delirium; Randomised controlled trial
20.  Intra- and inter-individual variation of BIS-index® and Entropy® during controlled sedation with midazolam/remifentanil and dexmedetomidine/remifentanil in healthy volunteers: an interventional study 
Critical Care  2009;13(1):R20.
We studied intra-individual and inter-individual variability of two online sedation monitors, BIS® and Entropy®, in volunteers under sedation.
Ten healthy volunteers were sedated in a stepwise manner with doses of either midazolam and remifentanil or dexmedetomidine and remifentanil. One week later the procedure was repeated with the remaining drug combination. The doses were adjusted to achieve three different sedation levels (Ramsay Scores 2, 3 and 4) and controlled by a computer-driven drug-delivery system to maintain stable plasma concentrations of the drugs. At each level of sedation, BIS® and Entropy® (response entropy and state entropy) values were recorded for 20 minutes. Baseline recordings were obtained before the sedative medications were administered.
Both inter-individual and intra-individual variability increased as the sedation level deepened. Entropy® values showed greater variability than BIS® values, and the variability was greater during dexmedetomidine/remifentanil sedation than during midazolam/remifentanil sedation.
The large intra-individual and inter-individual variability of BIS® and Entropy® values in sedated volunteers makes the determination of sedation levels by processed electroencephalogram (EEG) variables impossible. Reports in the literature which draw conclusions based on processed EEG variables obtained from sedated intensive care unit (ICU) patients may be inaccurate due to this variability.
Trial registration Nr. NCT00641563.
PMCID: PMC2688138  PMID: 19228415
21.  Daily sedative interruption versus intermittent sedation in mechanically ventilated critically ill patients: a randomized trial 
Daily sedative interruption and intermittent sedation are effective in abbreviating the time on mechanical ventilation. Whether one is superior to the other has not yet been determined. Our aim was to compare daily interruption and intermittent sedation during the mechanical ventilation period in a low nurse staffing ICU.
Adult patients expected to need mechanical ventilation for more than 24 hours were randomly assigned, in a single center, either to daily interruption of continuous sedative and opioid infusion or to intermittent sedation. In both cases, our goal was to maintain a Sedation Agitation Scale (SAS) level of 3 or 4; that is patients should be calm, easily arousable or awakened with verbal stimuli or gentle shaking. Primary outcome was ventilator-free days in 28 days. Secondary outcomes were ICU and hospital mortality, incidence of delirium, nurse workload, self-extubation and psychological distress six months after ICU discharge.
A total of 60 patients were included. There were no differences in the ventilator-free days in 28 days between daily interruption and intermittent sedation (median: 24 versus 25 days, P = 0.160). There were also no differences in ICU mortality (40 versus 23.3%, P = 0.165), hospital mortality (43.3 versus 30%, P = 0.284), incidence of delirium (30 versus 40%, P = 0.472), self-extubation (3.3 versus 6.7%, P = 0.514), and psychological stress six months after ICU discharge. Also, the nurse workload was not different between groups, but it was reduced on day 5 compared to day 1 in both groups (Nurse Activity Score (NAS) in the intermittent sedation group was 54 on day 1 versus 39 on day 5, P < 0.001; NAS in daily interruption group was 53 on day 1 versus 38 on day 5, P < 0.001). Fentanyl and midazolam total dosages per patient were higher in the daily interruption group. The tidal volume was higher in the intermittent sedation group during the first five days of ICU stay.
There was no difference in the number of ventilator-free days in 28 days between both groups. Intermittent sedation was associated with lower sedative and opioid doses.
Trial registration Identifier: NCT00824239.
PMCID: PMC4026117  PMID: 24900938
Sedation; Mechanical ventilation; Conscious sedation; Critical care and outcome assessment
22.  Efficiency and safety of inhalative sedation with sevoflurane in comparison to an intravenous sedation concept with propofol in intensive care patients: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:135.
State of the art sedation concepts on intensive care units (ICU) favor propofol for a time period of up to 72 h and midazolam for long-term sedation. However, intravenous sedation is associated with complications such as development of tolerance, insufficient sedation quality, gastrointestinal paralysis, and withdrawal symptoms including cognitive deficits. Therefore, we aimed to investigate whether sevoflurane as a volatile anesthetic technically implemented by the anesthetic-conserving device (ACD) may provide advantages regarding ‘weaning time’, efficiency, and patient’s safety when compared to standard intravenous sedation employing propofol.
This currently ongoing trial is designed as a two-armed, monocentric, randomized prospective phase II study including intubated intensive care patients with an expected necessity for sedation exceeding 48 h. Patients are randomly assigned to either receive intravenous sedation with propofol or sevoflurane employing the ACD. Primary endpoint is the comparison of the ‘weaning time’ defined as the time required from discontinuation of the sedating agent until sufficient spontaneous breathing occurs. Moreover, sedation depth evaluated by Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale and parameters of patient’s safety (that is, vital signs, laboratory monitoring of organ function) as well as the duration of mechanical ventilation and overall stay on the ICU are analyzed and compared. An intention-to-treat analysis will be carried out with all patients for whom it will be possible to define a wake-up time. In addition, a per-protocol analysis is envisaged. Completion of patient recruitment is expected by the end of 2012.
This clinical study is designed to evaluate the impact of sevoflurane during long-term sedation of critically ill patients on ‘weaning time’, efficiency, and patient’s safety compared to the standard intravenous sedation concept employing propofol.
Trial registration
EudraCT2007-006087-30; ISCRTN90609144
PMCID: PMC3502585  PMID: 22883020
Inhalative sedation; Intravenous sedation; Intensive care; Sevoflurane
23.  Remifentanil-induced pronociceptive effect and its prevention with pregabalin 
Korean Journal of Anesthesiology  2011;60(3):198-204.
Experimental and clinical studies have suggested that remifentanil probably causes acute tolerance or postinfusion hyperalgesia. This study was designed to confirm whether remifentanil given during propofol anesthesia induced postoperative pain sensitization, and we wanted to investigate whether pregabalin could prevent this pronociceptive effect.
Sixty patients who were scheduled for total abdominal hysterectomy were randomly allocated to receive (1) a placebo as premedication and an intraoperative saline infusion (control group), (2) a placebo as premedication and an intraoperative infusion of remifentanil at a rate of 3-4 ng/ml (remifentanil group), or (3) pregabalin 150 mg as premedication and an intraoperative infusion of remifentanil at a rate of 3-4 ng/ml (pregabalin-remifentanil group). Postoperative pain was controlled by titration of fentanyl in the postanesthetic care unit (PACU), followed by patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) with fentanyl. The patients were evaluated using the visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain scores at rest and after cough, consumption of fentanyl, sedation score and any side effects that were noted over the 48 h postoperative period.
The fentanyl titration dose given in the PACU was significantly larger in the remifentanil group as compared with those of the other two groups. At rest, the VAS pain score in the remifentanil group at 2 h after arrival in the PACU was significantly higher than those in the other two groups.
The results of this study show that remifentanil added to propofol anesthesia causes pain sensitization in the immediate postoperative period. Pretreatment with pregabalin prevents this pronociceptive effect and so this may be useful for the management of acute postoperative pain when remifentanil and propofol are used as anesthetics.
PMCID: PMC3071484  PMID: 21490822
Hyperalgesia; Pregabalin; Remifentanil; Tolerance
24.  Economic Evaluation of Dexmedetomidine Relative to Midazolam for Sedation in the Intensive Care Unit 
Dexmedetomidine is an α2-receptor agonist administered by continuous infusion in the intensive care unit (ICU) for sedation of critically ill patients who are undergoing mechanical ventilation following intubation. Relative to ICU patients receiving midazolam (a γ-aminobutyric acid agonist) for sedation, those receiving dexmedetomidine spent less time on ventilation, had fewer episodes of delirium, and had a lower incidence of tachycardia and hypertension.
To assess the economic impact, in a Canadian context, of dexmedetomidine, relative to midazolam, for sedation in the ICU.
This economic evaluation was based on a cost–consequences analysis, from the perspective of the Canadian health care system. The selected time horizon was an ICU stay (maximum 30 days). Clinical data were obtained from a previously published prospective, randomized, double-blind trial comparing dexmedetomidine and midazolam. This evaluation considered the costs of the medications, mechanical ventilation, and delirium episodes, as well as costs associated with adverse events requiring an intervention. All costs were adjusted to 2010 and are reported in Canadian dollars.
The average cost of the medication was higher for dexmedetomidine than midazolam ($1929.57 versus $180.10 per patient), but the average costs associated with mechanical ventilation and management of delirium were lower with dexmedetomidine than with midazolam ($2939 versus $4448 for ventilation; $2127 versus $3012 for delirium). The overall cost per patient was lower with dexmedetomidine than with midazolam ($7022 versus $7680). Deterministic sensitivity analysis confirmed the robustness of the difference.
The use of dexmedetomidine was, in most contexts, a more favourable strategy than the use of midazolam, in terms of clinical consequences and economic impact. Dexmedetomidine was less expensive than midazolam and was associated with lower occurrence of delirium and shorter duration of mechanical ventilation.
PMCID: PMC3329902  PMID: 22529402
dexmedetomidine; sedation; intensive care unit; economic evaluation; dexmédétomidine; sédation; unité de soins intensifs; évaluation économique
25.  Changes in sedation management in German intensive care units between 2002 and 2006: a national follow-up survey 
Critical Care  2007;11(6):R124.
The aim of this study, conducted in 2006, was to find out whether changes in sedation management in German intensive care units took place in comparison with our survey from 2002.
We conducted a follow-up survey with a descriptive and comparative cross-sectional multi-center design. A postal survey was sent between January and May 2006, up to four times, to the same 269 hospitals that participated in our first survey in 2002. The same questionnaire as in 2002 was used with a few additional questions.
Two hundred fourteen (82%) hospitals replied. Sixty-seven percent of the hospitals carried out changes in sedation management since the 2002 survey. Reasons for changes were published literature (46%), national guidelines (29%), and scientific lectures (32%). Sedation protocols (8% versus 52%) and a sedation scale (21% versus 46%) were used significantly more frequently. During sedation periods of up to 24 hours, significantly less midazolam was used (46% versus 35%). In comparison to 2002, sufentanil and epidural analgesia were used much more frequently in all phases of sedation, and fentanyl more rarely. For periods of greater than 72 hours, remifentanil was used more often. A daily sedation break was introduced by 34% of the hospitals, and a pain scale by 21%.
The increased implementation of protocols and scoring systems for the measurement of sedation depth and analgesia, a daily sedation break, and the use of more short-acting analgesics and sedatives account for more patient-oriented analgesia and sedation in 2006 compared with 2002.
PMCID: PMC2246220  PMID: 18062820

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