Prospective cohort study on noise levels in a pediatric cardiac intensive care unit

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To describe noise levels in a pediatric cardiac intensive care unit, and to determine the relationship between sound levels and patient sedation requirements.

Materials and Methods:

Prospective observational study at a pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (PCICU). Sound levels were measured continuously in slow A weighted decibels dB(A) with a sound level meter SoundEarPro® during a 4-week period. Sedation requirement was assessed using the number of intermittent (PRNs) doses given per hour. Analysis was conducted with autoregressive moving average models and the Granger test for causality.


39 children were included in the study. The average (SD) sound level in the open area was 59.4 (2.5) dB(A) with a statistically significant but clinically unimportant difference between day/night hours (60.1 vs. 58.6; p-value < 0.001). There was no significant difference between sound levels in the open area/single room (59.4 vs. 60.8, p-value = 0.108). Peak noise levels were > 90 dB. There was a significant association between average (p-value = 0.030) and peak sound levels (p-value = 0.006), and number of sedation PRNs.


Sound levels were above the recommended values with no differences between day/night or open area/single room. High sound levels were significantly associated with sedation requirements.

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