Semin Respir Crit Care Med 2001; 22(2): 211-226
DOI: 10.1055/s-2001-13834
Copyright © 2001 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA. Tel.: +1(212) 584-4662

Multidisciplinary Management of Sedation and Analgesia in Critical Care

Curtis N. Sessler1 , Mary Jo Grap2 , Gretchen M. Brophy3
  • 1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
  • 2School of Nursing, Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
  • 3School of Pharmacy, Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
31 December 2001 (online)


Management of sedation and analgesia in critical care medicine is a multidisciplinary process that involves physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers. Optimal management of these common issues includes recognition of the importance of predisposing and causative conditions that contribute to the sensations of pain and discomfort, anxiety, and delirium. Treatment includes pharmacological intervention, correction of predisposing factors, and use of other preventative and nonpharmacological measures. It is increasingly clear that, although necessary for patient comfort, sedative and analgesic medications can have adverse consequences, including side-effects as well as prolonged mechanical ventilation and ICU length of stay. Optimal use of sedative and analgesic medications involves matching unique properties of specific medications with individual patient characteristics. Guidelines that minimize unnecessary variability in practice, prevent excessive medication, and emphasize management based on individual patient characteristics improve the effective utilization of these medications.


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