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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 70-74

Evaluation of long-term infusion of dexmedetomidine in critically ill patients: A retrospective analysis

Department of Critical Care Medicine and Pharmacy, Tawam Hospital, AL Ain, United Arab Emirates

Correspondence Address:
Said Abuhasna
Department of Critical Care Medicine, Tawam Hospital, P.O. Box 15258, Al Ain
United Arab Emirates
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5151.97270

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Background: Dexmedetomidine is an α2-receptor agonist used for sedation in the intensive care unit (ICU). It is currently FDA indicated for short-term use (i.e., less than 24 h). Objectives: To compare the safety and efficacy of dexmedetomidine if given long- term (>24 h) to short-term infusion (up to 24 h) for mechanically ventilated critically ill patients. Materials and Methods: The medical records of 73 patients were evaluated. Primary outcomes were significant changes in blood pressure or heart rate. Secondary outcomes included hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay (LOS), ventilator time, rate of reintubation, and rate of death. Statistical Analysis: Pair wise comparisons were based on independent student t-test for continuous data and Chi-square test for categorical data. Statistical difference was defined as P value < 0.05. Results: Of the patients evaluated, 50 received dexmedetomidine for more than 24 h and 23 patients received this agent for 24 h. Patients were similar at baseline except for age. Patients who received dexmedetomidine for more than 24 h were similar to the short-infusion arm in terms of the rate of bradycardia (8.6% vs10%; P = 0.22), hypotension episodes (30.4% vs 28%; P= 0.2), requirement of treatment for those episodes (37% vs 42%; P= 0.43), hospital LOS (30 days vs 38 days; P = 0.45), ICU LOS (14 days vs 19 days; P = 0.44), ventilation days (8 days vs 14 days; P =0.58), rate of reintubation (4% vs 10%; P = 0.79) and mortality (P = 0.2). Conclusion: Long-term dexmedetomidine infusion (> 24 h) had similar safety and clinical outcomes in patients receiving this agent for short-term. Due to the retrospective nature of our investigation, more well-designed studies are needed to confirm these findings.

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