From the Journals

Guideline offers comprehensive approach for ICU clinicians



A new ICU clinical practice guideline provides updated strategies for managing adult patients with pain, agitation/sedation, delirium, immobility, and sleep disruption (PADIS).

ICU monitor copyright Andrei Malov/Thinkstock

The guideline builds upon the 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Pain, Agitation, and Delirium (PAD) in Adult Patients in the ICU. Given the comprehensive nature of the PADIS guideline, an accompanying commentary was published simultaneously to help with implementation and interpretation. Both papers are the result of a large-scale, multicenter collaboration and were published in Critical Care Medicine.

A panel of 32 international experts, four methodologists, and four survivors of critical illness used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach to develop the PADIS guideline.

“Thousands of hours were invested by these guidelines’ authors, who were in turn were supported by formal and informal collaborators, over the 3.5 years it took to produce this effort,” reported lead author John W. Devlin, PharmD, of the department of pharmacy and health systems sciences, Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University, Boston, and his colleagues.

Compared with the 2013 PAD guideline, the PADIS guideline includes new sections regarding rehabilitation/mobility and sleep. “We sought to clarify conceptual definitions within these relatively new critical care research domains,” the panel wrote. “The recommendation rationales, fueled by debate and discussion, circled back to the bedside experience – and the perspective of what was best for patients – held by all panelists and methodology experts.”

The result is extensive and comprehensive, consisting of both broad and specific descriptions of current ICU practices and associated evidence; the guideline includes 37 recommendations, 32 ungraded, nonactionable statements, and two good practice statements. Of note, conditional recommendations far outnumber strong recommendations (34 vs. 3). Reasons for conditional rather than strong recommendations are discussed in rationale sections within the guideline and in the accompanying paper.

“Although our goal was to provide specific recommendations for each question, we suspect some guideline readers may be discouraged by the conditional nature of many recommendations and daunted by the breadth of topics discussed,” wrote Michele C. Balas, PhD, of the Ohio State University College of Nursing in Columbus, and her colleagues. Dr. Balas was on the guideline panel and is the lead author of the accompanying article intended to facilitate implementation and interpretation.

One of the more challenging recommendations surrounds the use of antipsychotics for delirious patients. Although this intervention has become relatively common, the guideline stands against it.

“It should be emphasized that there are few supportive data on ICU antipsychotic use and that the initiation of psychoactive medications during critical illness often results in their inappropriate continuation after ICU discharge,” wrote Dr. Balas and her coauthors.

Along with a hard look at existing practices, the panel actively sought to expand upon the 2013 guideline with new interventions. Discussions ranged from the less conventional, such as aromatherapy, to the more established, such as polypharmacy. Questions, recommendations, and rationale are clearly described for each topic, with clear supporting evidence. Where evidence is missing, the panel recommends future research possibilities.

“One example is the consideration of multiple pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic coanalgesic approaches to the ICU patient,” wrote Dr. Devlin and his coauthors. “When the published evidence was insufficient, limited to a narrow population or specific intervention (e.g., for procedural analgesia), or outright absent to answer the questions we posed, we structured evidence gap descriptors to inform clinicians where the uncertainty lay, and intended to provide sufficient information to apprise and invite researchers to address these gaps.”

The authors disclosed funding from AstraZeneca, Baxter, Covidien, and others.

SOURCE: Devlin JW et al. Crit Care Med. 2018 Sep 1. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000003299; Balas MC et al. Crit Care Med. 2018 Sep 1. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000003307.

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