Evaluation of IV to Enteral Benzodiazepine Conversion Calculations in a Pediatric Intensive Care Setting

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Objectives:To evaluate if institutionally established calculations for transitioning continuous IV midazolam to enteral benzodiazepines maintain Withdrawal Assessment Tool—Version 1 scores equal to or less than preconversion values.Design:Retrospective cohort study evaluating the effectiveness and safety of benzodiazepine conversion calculations embedded within an institution-specific clinical pathway for sedation and weaning of mechanically ventilated pediatric patients.Setting:A 55-bed, mixed-medical, noncardiac surgical PICU in a tertiary care children’s hospital.Patients:All patients age 6 months to 18 years who received continuous midazolam for 5 days or longer while mechanically ventilated for 5–21 days and were then converted to either enteral diazepam or lorazepam following extubation (or return to baseline ventilator settings in tracheostomy-dependent patients) between January 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016.Interventions:Benzodiazepine conversion calculations were applied according to institutional clinical pathway guidance.Measurements and Main Results:Withdrawal Assessment Tool—Version 1 scores were compared pre and post benzodiazepine conversion. Patient demographics, benzodiazepine dose escalations, as needed benzodiazepine requirements, and severe adverse events within 48 hours of conversion were assessed. Seventy-one patient encounters were analyzed (median age, 2.5 yr; interquartile range, 1.2–5.3). The median Withdrawal Assessment Tool—Version 1 scores pre conversion and post conversion were not significantly different (1 [interquartile range, 0.75–2] and 1 [interquartile range, 0.25–2], respectively, p = 0.1). As needed benzodiazepine doses were administered in 38% of encounters post conversion, but escalation of a scheduled enteral benzodiazepine regimen was only required in 2.8% of encounters. Post conversion, one patient (1.4%) had increased seizure activity, and four patients (5.6%) required fluid boluses secondary to tachycardia or dehydration, but not hypotension.Conclusions:These findings suggest that standardized benzodiazepine conversions successfully achieved consistent Withdrawal Assessment Tool—Version 1 scores compared with preconversion values. Severe adverse events associated with oversedation and/or withdrawal were minimal and confounded by underlying disease states.

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