Nurses continue to face the challenge of preventing the consequences of patient-ventilator dyssynchrony, which is common yet underappreciated in critically ill patients.

The cost of providing care to critically ill patients in the United States consumes roughly 15% of all health care dollars, or 1% of the gross national product.1 Contributing to this economic burden are patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) who require mechanical ventilation and patients with complications from their dependence on this technology.2,3 In fact, 50% of ICU patients receive mechanical ventilation.4 

Often, sedation is required to increase patients’ tolerance of the endotracheal tube, reduce anxiety, and facilitate sleep. In particular, sedation is used frequently to reduce patient-ventilator dyssynchrony (PVD).5,9 Sassoon and Foster10 define PVD as a mismatching between the patient’s breaths (neural) and ventilator-assisted breaths (phase asynchrony), as well as the inability of the...

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