Rationale: A guideline that both evaluates current practice and provides recommendations to address sedation, pain, and delirium management with regard for neuromuscular blockade and withdrawal is not currently available.
Objective: To develop comprehensive clinical practice guidelines for critically ill infants and children, with specific attention to seven domains of care including pain, sedation/agitation, iatrogenic withdrawal, neuromuscular blockade, delirium, PICU environment, and early mobility.
Design: The Society of Critical Care Medicine Pediatric Pain, Agitation, Neuromuscular Blockade, and Delirium in critically ill pediatric patients with consideration of the PICU Environment and Early Mobility Guideline Taskforce was comprised of 29 national experts who collaborated from 2009 to 2021 via teleconference and/or e-mail at least monthly for planning, literature review, and guideline development, revision, and approval. The full taskforce gathered annually in-person during the Society of Critical Care Medicine Congress for progress reports and further strategizing with the final face-to-face meeting occurring in February 2020. Throughout this process, the Society of Critical Care Medicine standard operating procedures Manual for Guidelines development was adhered to.
Methods: Taskforce content experts separated into subgroups addressing pain/analgesia, sedation, tolerance/iatrogenic withdrawal, neuromuscular blockade, delirium, PICU environment (family presence and sleep hygiene), and early mobility. Subgroups created descriptive and actionable Population, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome questions. An experienced medical information specialist developed search strategies to identify relevant literature between January 1990 and January 2020. Subgroups reviewed literature, determined quality of evidence, and formulated recommendations classified as "strong" with "we recommend" or "conditional" with "we suggest." Good practice statements were used when indirect evidence supported benefit with no or minimal risk. Evidence gaps were noted. Initial recommendations were reviewed by each subgroup and revised as deemed necessary prior to being disseminated for voting by the full taskforce. Individuals who had an overt or potential conflict of interest abstained from relevant votes. Expert opinion alone was not used in substitution for a lack of evidence.
Results: The Pediatric Pain, Agitation, Neuromuscular Blockade, and Delirium in critically ill pediatric patients with consideration of the PICU Environment and Early Mobility taskforce issued 44 recommendations (14 strong and 30 conditional) and five good practice statements.
Conclusions: The current guidelines represent a comprehensive list of practical clinical recommendations for the assessment, prevention, and management of key aspects for the comprehensive critical care of infants and children. Main areas of focus included 1) need for the routine monitoring of pain, agitation, withdrawal, and delirium using validated tools, 2) enhanced use of protocolized sedation and analgesia, and 3) recognition of the importance of nonpharmacologic interventions for enhancing patient comfort and comprehensive care provision.
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