UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Critical Care

Title: Awareness With Paralysis Among Critically Ill Emergency Department Patients: A Prospective Cohort Study

Keywords: Awareness, mechanical ventilation, Emergency Department, Rocuronium (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/26/2022 by Quincy Tran, MD (Updated: 8/15/2022)
Click here to contact Quincy Tran, MD

Have you ever wonder what patients feel after being intubated in the ED?

The study " Awareness With Paralysis Among Critically Ill Emergency Department Patients: A Prospective Cohort Study" aimed at answering just that.

Settings: Emergency Departments from 3 hospitals; This was a secondary analysis of a prospective trial.

Patients:

Patients who received neuromuscular blockade in ED

Intervention: None.

Comparison: None.

Outcome: Primary outcome was Awareness while paralyzed, secondary outcome was Perceived threat, which is considered the pathway for PTSD.

Study Results:

The study evaluated 388 patients.  There were 230 (59%) patients who received rocuronium.

Patients who received rocuronium (5.5%, 12/230) were more likely to experience awareness than patients receiving other neuromuscular blockade (0.6%, 1/158).

Patients who experienced awareness during paralysis had a higher threat perception score that those who did not have awareness (15.6 [5.8] vs. 7.7 [6.0], P<0.01).

A multivariable logistic regression, after adjustment for small sample size, showed that Rocuronium in the ED was significantly associated with awareness (OR 7.2 [1.39-37.58], P = 0.02). 

Discussion:

With the increasing use of rocuronium for rapid sequence intubation in the ED, clinicians should start to pay more attention to the prevalence of awareness during paralysis.  According to the study, patients reported pain from procedures, being restrained, and worst of all feelings of impending death.

One of the risk factors for awareness during paralysis would be the long half-life of rocuronium, compared to that of succinylcholine.  Therefore, clinicians should consider prompt and appropriate dosage of sedatives for post-intubation sedation.  Previous studies showed that a mean time from intubation till sedatives was 27 minutes (2), and propofol was started at a low dose of 30 mcg/kg/min for ED intubation (3). 

 

Conclusion:

Approximately 5.5% of all patients or 4% of survivors of patients who had invasive mechanical ventilation in the ED experienced awareness during paralysis.  They also were at high risk for PTSD.

References

1. Fuller BM, Pappal RD, Mohr NM, Roberts BW, Faine B, Yeary J, Sewatsky T, Johnson NJ, Driver BE, Ablordeppey E, Drewry AM, Wessman BT, Yan Y, Kollef MH, Carpenter CR, Avidan MS. Awareness With Paralysis Among Critically Ill Emergency Department Patients: A Prospective Cohort Study. Crit Care Med. 2022 Jul 22. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000005626. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35866657.

2. Watt JM, Amini A, Traylor BR, Amini R, Sakles JC, Patanwala AE. Effect of paralytic type on time to post-intubation sedative use in the emergency department. Emerg Med J. 2013 Nov;30(11):893-5. doi: 10.1136/emermed-2012-201812. Epub 2012 Nov 8. PMID: 23139098.

3. Korinek JD, Thomas RM, Goddard LA, St John AE, Sakles JC, Patanwala AE. Comparison of rocuronium and succinylcholine on postintubation sedative and analgesic dosing in the emergency department. Eur J Emerg Med. 2014 Jun;21(3):206-11. doi: 10.1097/MEJ.0b013e3283606b89. PMID: 23510899.