A patient may agitation in the intensive care unit (ICU) for a perfectly good reason. Simply sedating the patient may mask a serious problem that can be life-threatening.
Causes of agitation in a patient receiving critical care:
(1) pain (myocardial infarction, post-operative, trauma, other)
(2) physical discomfort (position in bed, arm or leg position, device impingement, tight clothing, other)
(3) dyssynchrony between patient and ventilator
(4) alcohol, drug and/or nicotine withdrawal
(5) drug overdose
(6) drug-induced delirium
(9) sleep deprivation
(10) attempting to communicate
(13) infection involving the CNS
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Specialty: Critical Care, Emergency Medicine