Effect of Protocolized Sedation on Clinical Outcomes in Mechanically Ventilated Intensive Care Unit Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Mayo Clin Proc. 2015 May;90(5):613-23. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.02.016. Epub 2015 Apr 9.


Objective: To assess the effects of protocolized sedation (algorithm or daily interruption) compared with usual care without protocolized sedation on clinical outcomes in mechanically ventilated adult intensive care unit (ICU) patients via a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Methods: We searched Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane CENTRAL, Web of Science, and ClinicalTrials.gov from their inception to February 28, 2013. A random-effects model was used to synthesize risk ratios (RRs) and weighted mean differences (WMDs).

Results: Of 4782 records screened, 6 RCTs including 1243 patients met the inclusion criteria. Protocolized sedation was associated with significant reductions in overall mortality (RR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.74 to 0.97; P=.02; number needed to treat, 20; P=.11), ICU length of stay (WMD, -1.73 days; 95% CI, -3.32 to -0.14 days; P=.03), hospital length of stay (WMD, -3.55 days; 95% CI, -5.98 to -1.12 days; P=.004), and tracheostomy (RR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.96; P=.03; number needed to treat, 16.6; P=.04; 5 RCTs) compared with usual care. Protocolized sedation produced no significant differences in duration of mechanical ventilation (WMD, -1.04 days; 95% CI, -2.54 to 0.47 days; P=.18), reintubation (RR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.52 to 1.15; P=.21; 3 RCTs), and self-extubation (RR, 1.49; 95% CI, 0.46 to 4.82; P=.51; 4 RCTs) compared with usual care. Included studies did not report delirium incidence.

Conclusion: In mechanically ventilated adults in closed, nonspecialty ICUs, protocolized sedation seems to decrease overall mortality (15%), ICU and hospital lengths of stay (1.73 and 3.55 days, respectively), and tracheostomy (31%) compared with usual care without protocolized sedation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Conscious Sedation*
  • Critical Care
  • Deep Sedation*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Respiration, Artificial*