A web-based survey of United Kingdom sedation practice in the intensive care unit

Sarah M. Yassin, Marius Terblanche, James Yassin, Catherine A. McKenzie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this work was to obtain a detailed perspective of sedation practice. Sedation included sedative and opioid choice, presence of local guidelines, and use of scoring systems. Methods: A Web-based survey was designed. The aim was to gain sufficient detail of UK sedation while also being succinct enough to complete in 15 minutes. It was composed of relevant demographics, policy, sedative choice, and analgesia. The survey was piloted before launch. The investigators selected the intensive care unit (ICU) pharmacist as the respondent. Results: One hundred fifty-seven ICUs responded. Eighty-nine (59%) reported use of sedation guidelines, 78% undertook sedation holds, and 87% use sedation scores. Only 42% used a daily sedation target. Seventy (43%) assess for delirium; 27 of those use a validated tool.Propofol (89%) use was common, followed by midazolam (49%). Morphine (49%), fentanyl (34%), and alfentanil (34%) were the most frequently used opioids. Conclusion: This survey confirmed expected variation in UK sedation practice. Recognized strategies such as target sedation score and sedation policy are underused. A 43% uptake in delirium screening suggests that larger engagement is required to meet national standards.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2014


  • Delirium
  • Intensive care
  • Midazolam
  • Morphine
  • Propofol
  • Sedation

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