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The impact of Bispectral Index monitoring on sedation administration in mechanically ventilated patients

Intensive Care Unit, The Alfred Hospital and Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


The aim of this prospective randomised controlled trial was to assess the effectiveness of the Bispectral Index (BIS) monitor in supporting clinical sedation management decisions in mechanically ventilated intensive care unit patients. Fifty adult mechanically ventilated surgical and general intensive care unit patients receiving sedative infusions of morphine and midazolam were randomly allocated to receive BIS monitoring (n = 25) or standard sedation management (n = 25). In the BIS group, sedation was titrated to maintain a BIS value of greater than 70. In the standard management group, sedative needs were titrated based on subjective assessment and clinical signs.
There was no statistically significant difference in the amount of sedation administered (morphine P = 0.67 and midazolam P = 0.85). However, there was a statistically significant difference in sedation administration over time. Patients in the BIS group received increasing amounts of sedation over time whilst those in the control group received decreasing amounts of sedation over time. The same inverse relationship existed for both sedative agents (morphine P = 0.005, midazolam P = 0.03). Duration of mechanical ventilation was comparable in the two groups. We conclude that the use of BIS monitoring did not reduce the amount of sedation used, the length of mechanical ventilation time or the length of ICU stay.

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