This research by Grant et al was published online in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine in September 2016. The full text of the article is available to subscribers via this link. Registered members of the library can request the full text online via this link
Objective: Care of critically ill children includes sedation but current therapies are suboptimal. To describe dexmedetomidine use in children supported on mechanical ventilation for acute respiratory failure.
Design: Secondary analysis of data from the Randomized Evaluation of Sedation Titration for Respiratory Failure clinical trial.
Patients and Setting: Data from 2,449 children; 2 weeks to 17 years old in thirty one PICUs.
Interventions: Sedation practices were unrestrained in the usual care arm. Patients were categorized as receiving dexmedetomidine as a primary sedative, secondary sedative, periextubation agent, or never prescribed. Dexmedetomidine exposure and sedation and clinical profiles are described.
Measurements and Main Results: Of 1,224 usual care patients, 596 (49%) received dexmedetomidine. Dexmedetomidine as a primary sedative patients (n = 138; 11%) were less critically ill (Pediatric Risk of Mortality III-12 score median, 6 [interquartile range, 3-11]) and when compared with all other cohorts, experienced more episodic agitation. In the intervention group, time in sedation target improved from 28% to 50% within 1 day of initiating dexmedetomidine as a primary sedative. Dexmedetomidine as a secondary sedative usual care patients (n = 280; 23%) included more children with severe pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome or organ failure. Dexmedetomidine as a secondary sedative patients experienced more inadequate pain (22% vs 11%) and sedation (31% vs 16%) events. Dexmedetomidine as a periextubation agent patients (n = 178; 15%) were those known to not tolerate an awake, intubated state and experienced a shorter ventilator weaning process (2.1 vs 2.3 d).
Conclusions: Our data support the use of dexmedetomidine as a primary agent in low criticality patients offering the benefit of rapid achievement of targeted sedation levels. Dexmedetomidine as a secondary agent does not appear to add benefit. The use of dexmedetomidine to facilitate extubation in children intolerant of an awake, intubated state may abbreviate ventilator weaning. These data support a broader armamentarium of pediatric critical care sedation.