Current sedation practices: lessons learned from international surveys

Crit Care Clin. 2009 Jul;25(3):471-88, vii-viii. doi: 10.1016/j.ccc.2009.04.001.


Patient outcomes are significantly influenced by the choice of sedative and analgesic agents, the presence of over- or undersedation, poor pain control, and delirium. Individualized sedation management using sedation assessment tools, sedation protocols, and daily sedative interruption can improve clinical outcomes. Despite the publication of randomized trials and numerous guidelines, the uptake of proven strategies into routine practice can be slow. Surveys of clinicians' self-reported practice and prospective practice audits characterize sedation and analgesia practices and provide directions for education and future research. The objective of this review is to present the findings of surveys and practice audits, evaluating the management of sedation and analgesia in mechanically ventilated adults in the intensive care unit, and to summarize international critical care sedation practices.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Analgesics / adverse effects
  • Conscious Sedation / methods*
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain / prevention & control


  • Analgesics
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives