Noise in the intensive care unit and its influence on sleep quality: a multicenter observational study in Dutch intensive care units

This article by Simons and colleagues was published in the Critical Care October 2018 issue.
Background:  High noise levels in the intensive care unit (ICU) are a well-known problem. Little is known about the effect of noise on sleep quality in ICU patients. The study aim is to determine the effect of noise on subjective sleep quality.
Methods:  This was a multi-centre observational study in six Dutch ICUs. Noise recording equipment was installed in 2-4 rooms per ICU. Adult patients were eligible for the study 48 h after ICU admission and were followed up to maximum of five nights in the ICU. Exclusion criteria were presence of delirium and/or inability to be assessed for sleep quality. Sleep was evaluated using the Richards Campbell Sleep Questionnaire (range 0-100 mm). Noise recordings were used for analysis of various auditory parameters, including the number and duration of restorative periods. Hierarchical mixed model regression analysis was used to determine associations between noise and sleep.
Results:  In total, 64 patients (68% male), mean age 63.9 (± 11.7) years and mean Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score 21.1 (± 7.1) were included. Average sleep quality score was 56 ± 24 mm. The mean of the 24-h average sound pressure levels (LAeq, 24h) was 54.0 dBA (± 2.4). Mixed-effects regression analyses showed that background noise (β = - 0.51, p < 0.05) had a negative impact on sleep quality, whereas number of restorative periods (β = 0.53, p < 0.01) and female sex (β = 1.25, p < 0.01) were weakly but significantly correlated with sleep.
Conclusions:  Noise levels are negatively associated and restorative periods and female gender are positively associated with subjective sleep quality in ICU patients.
The full text of the article is available via this link.

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