27 patients died or were successfully extubated within 48 h, and, as per our study design, were excluded from the study and statistical analysis. Patients receiving no sedation had significantly more days without ventilation (n=55; mean 13·8 days, SD 11·0) than did those receiving interrupted sedation (n=58; mean 9·6 days, SD 10·0; mean difference 4·2 days, 95% CI 0·3–8·1; p=0·0191). No sedation was also associated with a shorter stay in the intensive care unit (HR 1·86, 95% CI 1·05–3·23; p=0·0316), and, for the first 30 days studied, in hospital (3·57, 1·52–9·09; p=0·0039), than was interrupted sedation. No difference was recorded in the occurrences of accidental extubations, the need for CT or MRI brain scans, or ventilator-associated pneumonia. Agitated delirium was more frequent in the intervention group than in the control group (n=11, 20% vs n=4, 7%; p=0·0400).
No sedation of critically ill patients receiving mechanical ventilation is associated with an increase in days without ventilation. A multicentre study is needed to establish whether this effect can be reproduced in other facilities.
Medscape commentary here.