Objective The aim of the study was to define the strategies for the use and monitoring of sedative, analgesic, and muscle relaxant medication in Spanish paediatric intensive care units (PICU).
Material and methods A questionnaire with 102 questions was sent by e-mail to all Spanish PICUs.
Results Replies were received from 36 of the 45 PICUs (80%). A written protocol for sedation and analgesia was used in 64%; this medication was adjusted according to the diagnosis and clinical status of the patient in 30% of the units. Midazolam was the most widely used drug for sedation, followed by ketamine and propofol. Fentanyl was the most widely used drug for analgesia, followed by paracetamol and metamizole. The combination of midazolam and fentanyl in continuous infusion was used most frequently in patients on mechanical ventilation (MV), followed by propofol. Scales to monitor sedation and analgesia were employed in 45% of PICUs, most used the Ramsay scale. The bispectral index (BIS) was used in 50% of PICUs. Muscle relaxants were administered to 26% of patients on MV; the most common indications for MV were head injury and severe respiratory disease. The principal methods for avoiding withdrawal syndrome were a progressive withdrawal of the drugs and morphine chloride.
Conclusions Although there is insufficient scientific evidence to determine the ideal drugs for sedation and analgesia in the critically ill child and the methods for monitoring and control, the production of guidelines and written treatment and monitoring protocols could help to improve the management and control of sedation and analgesia.