oa Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - Sedation in the ICU : sedation

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2220-1181
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1173



The ICU is a hostile environment, and while pain is often the root cause of distress experienced by the patient in the unit, anxiety, dyspnoea, delirium and sleep deprivation may be additive or synergistic. Factors that provoke these components of distress include underlying medical conditions, acute medical / surgical illness, and "routine" critical care practices like mechanical ventilation, the presence of indwelling tubes and catheters, iatrogenic illness, medication side effects, turning and suctioning, and excessive noise and light in the ICU.

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