A dual-center cohort study on the association between early deep sedation and clinical outcomes in mechanically ventilated patients during the COVID-19 pandemic: The COVID-SED study

Robert J. Stephens, Erin M. Evans, Michael J. Pajor, Ryan D. Pappal, Haley M. Egan, Max Wei, Hunter Hayes, Jason A. Morris, Nicholas Becker, Brian W. Roberts, Marin H. Kollef, Nicholas M. Mohr, Brian M. Fuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Mechanically ventilated patients have experienced greater periods of prolonged deep sedation during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Multiple studies from the pre-COVID era demonstrate that early deep sedation is associated with worse outcome. Despite this, there is a lack of data on sedation depth and its impact on outcome for mechanically ventilated patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. We sought to characterize the emergency department (ED) and intensive care unit (ICU) sedation practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to determine if early deep sedation was associated with worse clinical outcomes. Study design and methods: Dual-center, retrospective cohort study conducted over 6 months (March–August, 2020), involving consecutive, mechanically ventilated adults. All sedation-related data during the first 48 h were collected. Deep sedation was defined as Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale of − 3 to − 5 or Riker Sedation-Agitation Scale of 1–3. To examine impact of early sedation depth on hospital mortality (primary outcome), we used a multivariable logistic regression model. Secondary outcomes included ventilator-, ICU-, and hospital-free days. Results: 391 patients were studied, and 283 (72.4%) experienced early deep sedation. Deeply sedated patients received higher cumulative doses of fentanyl, propofol, midazolam, and ketamine when compared to light sedation. Deep sedation patients experienced fewer ventilator-, ICU-, and hospital-free days, and greater mortality (30.4% versus 11.1%) when compared to light sedation (p < 0.01 for all). After adjusting for confounders, early deep sedation remained significantly associated with higher mortality (adjusted OR 3.44; 95% CI 1.65–7.17; p < 0.01). These results were stable in the subgroup of patients with COVID-19. Conclusions: The management of sedation for mechanically ventilated patients in the ICU has changed during the COVID pandemic. Early deep sedation is common and independently associated with worse clinical outcomes. A protocol-driven approach to sedation, targeting light sedation as early as possible, should continue to remain the default approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number179
JournalCritical Care
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • COVID
  • Deep sedation
  • Emergency department
  • Mechanical ventilation

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