Review of Continuous Infusion Neuromuscular Blocking Agents in the Adult Intensive Care Unit

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Abstract

The use of continuous infusion neuromuscular blocking agents remains controversial. The clinical benefit of these medications may be overshadowed by concerns of propagating intensive care unit–acquired weakness, which may prolong mechanical ventilation and impair the inability to assess neurologic function or pain. Despite these risks, the use of neuromuscular blocking agents in the intensive care unit is indicated in numerous clinical situations. Understanding pharmacologic nuances and clinical roles of these agents will aid in facilitating safe use in a variety of acute disease processes. This article provides clinicians with information regarding pharmacologic differences, indication for use, adverse effects, recommended doses, ancillary care, and monitoring among agents used for continuous neuromuscular blockade.

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