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Name of Media:

Strategies to Optimize ICU Liberation (A to F) Bundle Performance in Critically Ill Adults With Coronavirus Disease 2019


John W. Devlin, PharmD, MCCM; Hollis R. O’Neal Jr, MD, MS; Christopher Thomas , MD; Mary Ann Barnes Daly, MS, RN, CCRN; Joanna L. Stollings, PharmD, FCCM; David R. Janz, MD, MS; E. Wesley Ely, MD, MS, FCCM; John C. Lin, MD

Publisher or Source:

Critical Care Explorations

Type of Media:

Medical Journal

Media Originally for:

Critical Care Physicians,Nurses and/or Other Critical Care Medical Professionals

Country of Origin:

United States of America (the)

Primary Focus of Media:

Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS)

COVID-19 Related:



Objectives: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic has stretched ICU resources in an unprecedented fashion and outstripped personal protective equipment supplies. The combination of a novel disease, resource limitations, and risks to medical personnel health have created new barriers to implementing the ICU Liberation (“A” for Assessment, Prevention, and Manage pain; “B” for Both Spontaneous Awakening Trials and Spontaneous Breathing Trials; “C” for Choice of Analgesia and Sedation; “D” for Delirium Assess, Prevent, and Manage; “E” for Early Mobility and Exercise; and “F” for Family Engagement and Empowerment [ABCDEF]) Bundle, a proven ICU care approach that reduces delirium, shortens mechanical ventilation duration, prevents post-ICU syndrome, and reduces healthcare costs. This narrative review acknowledges barriers and offers strategies to optimize Bundle performance in coronavirus disease 2019 patients requiring mechanical ventilation.
Data Sources, Study Selection, and Data Extraction: The most relevant literature, media reports, and author experiences were assessed for inclusion in this narrative review including PubMed, national newspapers, and critical care/pharmacology textbooks.
Data Synthesis: Uncertainty regarding coronavirus disease 2019 clinical course, shifts in attitude, and changes in routine behavior have hindered Bundle use. A domino effect results from: 1) changes to critical care hierarchy, priorities, and ICU team composition; 2) significant personal protective equipment shortages cause; 3) reduced/restricted physical bedside presence favoring; 4) increased depth of sedation and use of neuromuscular blockade; 5) which exacerbate drug shortages; and 6) which require prolonged use of limited ventilator resources. Other identified barriers include manageable knowledge deficits among non-ICU clinicians unfamiliar with the Bundle or among PICU specialists deploying pediatric-based Bundle approaches who are unfamiliar with adult medicine. Both groups have been enlisted to augment the adult ICU work force to meet demand. Strategies were identified to facilitate Bundle performance to liberate patients from the ICU.
Conclusions: We acknowledge current challenges that interfere with comprehensive management of critically ill patients during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Rapid response to new circumstances precisely requires established safety mechanisms and protocols like the ABCDEF Bundle to increase ICU and ventilator capacity and help survivors maximize recovery from coronavirus disease 2019 as early as possible.
Key Words: ABCDEF bundle; agitation; ARDS; coronavirus disease 2019; delirium; intensive care

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