Name of Media:

BIS monitoring versus clinical assessment for sedation in mechanically ventilated adults in the intensive care unit and its impact on clinical outcomes and resource utilization


Rajesh M Shetty, Antonio Bellini, Dhuleep S Wijayatilake, Mark A Hamilton, Rajesh Jain, Sunil Karanth, ArunKumar Namachivayam

Publisher or Source:

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Type of Media:

Medical Journal

Media Originally for:

Critical Care Physicians

Country of Origin:


Primary Focus of Media:

Pre-Use of PICS Designation

COVID-19 Related:




Patients admitted to intensive care and on mechanical ventilation, are administered sedative and analgesic drugs to improve both their comfort and interaction with the ventilator. Optimizing sedation practice may reduce mortality, improve patient comfort and reduce cost. Current practice is to use scales or scores to assess depth of sedation based on clinical criteria such as consciousness, understanding and response to commands. However these are perceived as subjective assessment tools. Bispectral index (BIS) monitors, which are based on the processing of electroencephalographic signals, may overcome the restraints of the sedation scales and provide a more reliable and consistent guidance for the titration of sedation depth.

The benefits of BIS monitoring of patients under general anaesthesia for surgical procedures have already been confirmed by another Cochrane review. By undertaking a well‐conducted systematic review our aim was to find out if BIS monitoring improves outcomes in mechanically ventilated adult intensive care unit (ICU) patients.

To assess the effects of BIS monitoring compared with clinical sedation assessment on ICU length of stay (LOS), duration of mechanical ventilation, any cause mortality, risk of ventilator‐associated pneumonia (VAP), risk of adverse events (e.g. self‐extubation, unplanned disconnection of indwelling catheters), hospital LOS, amount of sedative agents used, cost, longer‐term functional outcomes and quality of life as reported by authors for mechanically ventilated adults in the ICU.
Search methods

We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, ProQuest, OpenGrey and SciSearch up to May 2017 and checked references citation searching and contacted study authors to identify additional studies. We searched trial registries, which included and controlled‐
Selection criteria

We included all randomized controlled trials comparing BIS versus clinical assessment (CA) for the management of sedation in mechanically ventilated critically ill adults.
Data collection and analysis

We used Cochrane's standard methodological procedures. We undertook analysis using Revman 5.3 software.
Main results

We identified 4245 possible studies from the initial search. Of those studies, four studies (256 participants) met the inclusion criteria. One more study is awaiting classification. Studies were, conducted in single‐centre surgical and mixed medical‐surgical ICUs. BIS monitor was used to assess the level of sedation in the intervention arm in all the studies. In the control arm, the sedation assessment tools for CA included the Sedation‐Agitation Scale (SAS), Ramsay Sedation Scale (RSS) or subjective CA utilizing traditional clinical signs (heart rate, blood pressure, conscious level and pupillary size). Only one study was classified as low risk of bias, the other three studies were classified as high risk.

There was no evidence of a difference in one study (N = 50) that measured ICU LOS (Median (Interquartile Range IQR) 8 (4 to 14) in the CA group; 12 (6 to 18) in the BIS group; low‐quality evidence).There was little or no effect on the duration of mechanical ventilation (MD ‐0.02 days (95% CI ‐0.13 to 0.09; 2 studies; N = 155; I2 = 0%; low‐quality evidence)). Adverse events were reported in one study (N = 105) and the effects on restlessness after suction, endotracheal tube resistance, pain tolerance during sedation or delirium after extubation were uncertain due to very low‐quality evidence. Clinically relevant adverse events such as self‐extubation were not reported in any study. Three studies reported the amount of sedative agents used. We could not measure combined difference in the amount of sedative agents used because of different sedation protocols and sedative agents used in the studies. GRADE quality of evidence was very low. No study reported other secondary outcomes of interest for the review.
Authors' conclusions

We found insufficient evidence about the effects of BIS monitoring for sedation in critically ill mechanically ventilated adults on clinical outcomes or resource utilization. The findings are uncertain due to the low‐ and very low‐quality evidence derived from a limited number of studies.

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