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In Current opinion in critical care ; h5-index 39.0

PURPOSE OF REVIEW : Two years of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic highlighted that excessive sedation in the ICU leading to coma and other adverse outcomes remains pervasive. There is a need to improve monitoring and management of sedation in mechanically ventilated patients. Remote technologies that are based on automated analysis of electroencephalogram (EEG) could enhance standard care and alert clinicians real-time when severe EEG suppression or other abnormal brain states are detected.

RECENT FINDINGS : High rates of drug-induced coma as well as delirium were found in several large cohorts of mechanically ventilated patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. In patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, high doses of sedatives comparable to general anesthesia have been commonly administered without defined EEG endpoints. Continuous limited-channel EEG can reveal pathologic brain states such as burst suppression, that cannot be diagnosed by neurological examination alone. Recent studies documented that machine learning-based analysis of continuous EEG signal is feasible and that this approach can identify burst suppression as well as delirium with high specificity.

SUMMARY : Preventing oversedation in the ICU remains a challenge. Continuous monitoring of EEG activity, automated EEG analysis, and generation of alerts to clinicians may reduce drug-induced coma and potentially improve patient outcomes.

Hanidziar Dusan, Westover Michael Brandon