Managing agitation in critically ill patients is challenging and complex. Advances in the field of critical care impose strains on patients that can lead to disorientation and agitation, especially as more severe illnesses are treated successfully. Although the adverse effects of agitation are well-known, their impact on morbidity, mortality, length of stay, and cost are only beginning to be addressed. Meeting these challenges requires an understanding of the potential adverse effects of agitation, its causes and contributing factors, the advantages and limitations of available pharmacologic agents, and the role of nonpharmacologic interventions. This article reviews each of these issues, with a focus on clinical applications and strategies.

You do not currently have access to this content.