Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Crit Care Med. 2009 Oct;37(10 Suppl):S416-21. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3181b6f95b.

Role of analgesics, sedatives, neuromuscular blockers, and delirium.

Author information

Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Merion Station, PA, USA.


A major focus on critical care medicine concerns the institution of life-support therapies, such as mechanical ventilation, during periods of organ failure to permit a window of opportunity to diagnose and treat underlying disorders so that patients may be returned to their prior functional status upon recovery. With the growing success of these intensive care unit-based therapies and longer-term follow-up of patients, severe weakness involving the peripheral nervous system and muscles has been identified in many recovering patients, often confounding the time course or magnitude of recovery. Mechanical ventilation is often accompanied by pharmacologic treatments including analgesics, sedatives, and neuromuscular blockers. These drugs and the encephalopathies accompanying some forms of critical illness result in a high prevalence of delirium in mechanically ventilated patients. These drug effects likely contribute to an impaired ability to assess the magnitude of intensive care unit-acquired weakness, to additional time spent immobilized and mechanically ventilated, and to additional weakness from the patient's relative immobility and bedridden state. This review surveys recent literature documenting these relationships and identifying approaches to minimize pharmacologic contributions to intensive care unit-acquired weakness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Support Center