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Sedation and Analgesia in Pediatric Intensive Care

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Almost all children in the pediatric intensive care (PICU) need analgesia and/or sedation. Analgesics drugs are used to control pain from surgical incisions, drainages, vascular access or endotracheal suctioning. Sedatives are used to facilitate the delivery of nursing care, to facilitate mechanical ventilation, prevent self-extubation and to minimize patient discomfort. A therapeutic plan for analgesia and sedation should be established for each patient and regularly reviewed. The most often used sedation agents in PICU patients are Morphine or Fentanyl alone or in combination with Midazolam. Several other drugs should be helpful to manage PICU patients therefore techniques like regional anesthesia and patient controlled analgesia to decrease the use of intravenous analgesia and sedation and to reduce the incidence of withdrawal syndrome. The therapeutic plan for analgesia and sedation should be established for each patient and regularly reviewed. Doses of sedative agents should be titrated to produce the desired level of sedation. The level of sedation should be regularly assessed and documented using few validated sedation assessment tool. However, behavioral evaluation tools based on patient responsiveness, cannot be used during the administration of neuromuscular blocking agents. Under this conditions it could be difficult to interpret the degree of sedation. EEG derived Monitoring devices may represents an useful tools of assessing the level of sedation, but there is insufficient evidence to support the routine use of the BIS monitor in PICU.

Keywords: Analgesia; BIS; EEG; PICU; children; neuromuscular blocking agents; regional anesthesia; sedation; sedation assessment tool; self-extubation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: U.O. Anestesia e Rianimazione I, Ospedale San Gerardo di Monza, Via Pergolesi 33 (20052), Monza, Italy.

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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