To improve outcomes for patients with propofol infusion syndrome, learn to recognize symptoms early and discontinue the propofol infusion.

Propofol, introduced in the United States in 1989, is a potent short-acting intravenous sedative-hypnotic agent used to induce and maintain anesthesia and to provide continuous sedation in the intensive care unit (ICU).1 Propofol has a rapid onset of action (approximately 30 seconds), a rapid rate of distribution (half-life, 2–4 minutes), a dose-related hypnotic effect, and a short elimination half-life (30–60 minutes; Table 1).2 Use of propofol in the ICU allows frequent and ongoing neurological evaluations and assessments. Furthermore, it does not accumulate in patients with renal or hepatic disease.1 These pharmacological properties make propofol an ideal agent for treatment of critically ill patients. Currently, propofol is indicated for continuous sedation in adult patients receiving mechanical ventilation in the critical care setting.

Despite the inherent pharmacological and clinical...

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