Friday, October 18, 2019

Delirium in Mechanically Ventilated Patients: Let the Natural Light in!

I have great disdain for delirium. Natural light brings me great joy. Today, for example, the sun isn't shining bright. The day is cloudy and gloomy. I am, in turn, a little grouchy. Daylight savings is coming and I'm already upset about it. I can turn on the light but it won't be the same. This study was published today. How's that for so fresh and so clean?

Preventing and treating delirium is something we haven't quite figured out just yet. But studies like this one help us chip away at that giant piece of rock to eventually present a great sculpture. Bad analogy? Yep! In this study, the authors were curious to see whether patients having natural light would affect the incidence of delirium in patients who are on the ventilator (primary outcome). The secondary outcomes included the "duration of delirium, duration of coma, use of antipsychotics to treat agitation, the incidence of hallucinations, the incidence of self-extubation, duration of mechanical ventilation, ICU and hospital length of stay, ICU and hospital mortality."

This was a single centered trial with 195 patients. Out of their measured outcomes, they noted that the patients exposed to natural light had a reduced incidence of severe agitation (p=0.04). In addition, the patients exposed to natural light also had fewer hallucinations (p=0.04). Fortunately, this study is free and you can download it and read it yourself. I like natural light. It's free. It may not ameliorate delirium, but it is another tool in our tool belt to make these patients better.

Link to Abstract

Link to full free PDF

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