Isoflurane Sedation on the ICU in Cardiac Arrest Patients Treated With Targeted Temperature Management: An Observational Propensity-Matched Study

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Targeted temperature management after cardiac arrest requires deep sedation to prevent shivering and discomfort. Compared to IV sedation, volatile sedation has a shorter half-life and thus may allow more rapid extubation and neurologic assessment.


Observational analysis of clinical data.


University hospital, medical ICU.


Four hundred thirty-two cardiac arrest survivors underwent targeted temperature management; of those, 110 were treated with volatile sedation using an anesthetic conserving device and isoflurane, and 322 received standard IV sedation.


No intervention.

Measurement and Main Results:

A matched pairs analysis revealed that time on ventilator (difference of median, 98.5 hr; p = 0.003) and length of ICU stay (difference of median, 4.5 d; p = 0.006) were significantly shorter in patients sedated with isoflurane when compared with IV sedation although no differences in neurologic outcome (45% of patients with cerebral performance category 1–2 in both groups) were observed. Significant hypercapnia occurred more frequently during anesthetic conserving device use (6.4% vs 0%; p = 0.021).


Volatile sedation is feasible in cardiac arrest survivors. Prospective controlled studies are necessary to confirm the beneficial effects on duration of ventilation and length of ICU stay observed in our study. Our data argue against a major effect on neurologic outcome. Close monitoring of PaCO2 is necessary during sedation via anesthetic conserving device.

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