7 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Deep sedation in the emergency department (ED) is common, increases deep sedation in the ICU, and is negatively associated with outcome. Limiting ED deep sedation may, therefore, be a high-yield intervention to improve outcome. However, the feasibility of conducting an adequately powered ED-based clinical sedation trial is unknown. Our objectives were to assess trial feasibility in terms of: 1) recruitment, 2) protocol implementation and practice change, and 3) safety. Patient-centered clinical outcomes were assessed to better plan for a future large-scale clinical trial. DESIGN: Pragmatic, multicenter (n = 3), prospective before-after pilot and feasibility trial. SETTING: The ED and ICUs at three medical centers. PATIENTS: Consecutive, adult mechanically ventilation ED patients. INTERVENTIONS: An educational initiative aimed at reliable ED sedation depth documentation and reducing the proportion of deeply sedated patients (primary outcome). MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Sedation-related data in the ED and the first 48 ICU hours were recorded. Deep sedation was defined as a Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale of -3 to -5 or a Sedation-Agitation Scale of 1-3. One thousand three hundred fifty-six patients were screened; 415 comprised the final population. Lighter ED sedation was achieved in the intervention group, and the proportion of deeply sedated patients was reduced from 60.2% to 38.8% (p < 0.01). There were no concerning trends in adverse events (i.e., inadvertent extubation, device removal, and awareness with paralysis). Mortality was 10.0% in the intervention group and 20.4% in the preintervention group (p < 0.01). Compared with preintervention, the intervention group experienced more ventilator-free days [22.0 (9.0) vs 19.9 (10.6)] and ICU-free days [20.8 (8.7) vs 18.1 (10.4)], p < 0.05 for both. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot trial confirmed the feasibility of targeting the ED in order to improve sedation practices and reduce deep sedation. These findings justify an appropriately powered clinical trial regarding ED-based sedation to improve clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1235
Number of pages12
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


  • emergency department
  • feasibility
  • implementation
  • mechanical ventilation
  • pilot trial
  • sedation


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