NYMC Faculty Publications

Modern Sedation and Analgesia Strategies in Neurocritical Care

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Faculty, Resident/Fellow

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Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Patients with acute neurologic injury require a specialized approach to critical care, particularly with regard to sedation and analgesia. This article reviews the most recent advances in methodology, pharmacology, and best practices of sedation and analgesia for the neurocritical care population. RECENT FINDINGS: In addition to established agents such as propofol and midazolam, dexmedetomidine and ketamine are two sedative agents that play an increasingly central role, as they have a favorable side effect profile on cerebral hemodynamics and rapid offset can facilitate repeated neurologic exams. Recent evidence suggests that dexmedetomidine is also an effective component when managing delirium. Combined analgo-sedation with low doses of short-acting opiates is a preferred sedation strategy to facilitate neurologic exams as well as patient-ventilator synchrony. Optimal care for patients in the neurocritical care population requires an adaptation of general ICU strategies that incorporates understanding of neurophysiology and the need for close neuromonitoring. Recent data continues to improve care tailored to this population.