Effectiveness of implementing a wake up and Breathe program on sedation and delirium in the ICU

Babar A. Khan, William F. Fadel, Jason L. Tricker, W. Graham Carlos, Mark O. Farber, Siu L. Hui, Noll L. Campbell, E. Wesley Ely, Malaz A. Boustani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Objectives: Mechanically ventilated critically ill patients receive significant amounts of sedatives and analgesics that increase their risk of developing coma and delirium. We evaluated the impact of a "Wake-up and Breathe Protocol" at our local ICU on sedation and delirium. Design: A pre/post implementation study design. Setting: A 22-bed mixed surgical and medical ICU. Patients: Seven hundred two consecutive mechanically ventilated ICU patients from June 2010 to January 2013. Interventions: Implementation of daily paired spontaneous awakening trials (daily sedation vacation plus spontaneous breathing trials) as a quality improvement project. Measurements and Main Results: After implementation of our program, there was an increase in the mean Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale scores on weekdays of 0.88 (p < 0.0001) and an increase in the mean Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale scores on weekends of 1.21 (p < 0.0001). After adjusting for age, race, gender, severity of illness, primary diagnosis, and ICU, the incidence and prevalence of delirium did not change post implementation of the protocol (incidence: 23% pre vs 19.6% post; p = 0.40; prevalence: 66.7% pre vs 55.3% post; p = 0.06). The combined prevalence of delirium/coma decreased from 90.8% pre protocol implementation to 85% postimplementation (odds ratio, 0.505; 95% CI, 0.299-0.853; p = 0.01). Conclusions: Implementing a "Wake Up and Breathe Program" resulted in reduced sedation among critically ill mechanically ventilated patients but did not change the incidence or prevalence of delirium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e791-e795
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014



  • Acute brain dysfunction
  • Delirium
  • Intensive care unit
  • Quality improvement
  • Sedation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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