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Müller-Wirtz LM, Grimm D, Albrecht FW, Fink T, Volk T, Meiser A: Increased Respiratory Drive after Prolonged Isoflurane Sedation: A Retrospective Cohort Study. Journal of Clinical Medicine 2022; 11

September 15, 2022

Abstract: Low-dose isoflurane stimulates spontaneous breathing. We, therefore, tested the hypothesis that isoflurane compared to propofol sedation for at least 48 h is associated with increased respiratory drive in intensive care patients after sedation stop. All patients in our intensive care unit receiving at least 48 h of isoflurane or propofol sedation in 2019 were included. The primary outcome was increased respiratory drive over 72 h after sedation stop, defined as an arterial carbon dioxide pressure below 35 mmHg and a base excess more than −2 mmol/L. Secondary outcomes were acid–base balance and ventilatory parameters. We analyzed 64 patients, 23 patients sedated with isoflurane and 41 patients sedated with propofol. Patients sedated with isoflurane were about three times as likely to show increased respiratory drive after sedation stop than those sedated with propofol: adjusted risk ratio [95% confidence interval]: 2.9 [1.3, 6.5], p = 0.010. After sedation stop, tidal volumes were significantly greater and arterial carbon dioxide partial pressures were significantly lower, while respiratory rates did not differ in isoflurane versus propofol-sedated patients. In conclusion, prolonged isoflurane use in intensive care patients is associated with increased respiratory drive after sedation stop. Beneficial effects of isoflurane sedation on respiratory drive may, thus, extend beyond the actual period of sedation.
Keywords: intensive care; anesthesia; inhaled sedation; respiratory drive; isoflurane; propofol