Volatile Agents in Medical and Surgical Intensive Care Units: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials

Giovanni Landoni, Laura Pasin, Luca Cabrini, Anna Mara Scandroglio, Martina Baiardo Redaelli, Carmine Domenico Votta, Mattia Bellandi, Giovanni Borghi, Alberto Zangrillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To comprehensively assess published randomized peer-reviewed studies related to volatile agents used for sedation in intensive care unit (ICU) settings, with the hypothesis that volatile agents could reduce time to extubation in adult patients. Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Setting: Intensive care units. Participants: Critically ill patients. Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: The BioMedCentral, PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Central Register databases of clinical trials were searched systematically for studies on volatile agents used in the ICU setting. Articles were assessed by trained investigators, and divergences were resolved by consensus. Inclusion criteria included random allocation to treatment (volatile agents versus any intravenous comparator, with no restriction on dose or time of administration) in patients requiring mechanical ventilation in the ICU. Twelve studies with 934 patients were included in the meta-analysis. The use of halogenated agents reduced the time to extubation (standardized mean difference = -0.78 [-1.01 to -0.55] hours; p for effect2 = 32% in 7 studies with 503 patients). Results for time to extubation were confirmed in all subanalyses (eg, medical and surgical patients) and sensitivity analyses. No differences in length of hospital stay, ICU stay, and mortality were recorded. Conclusions: In this meta-analysis of randomized trials, volatile anesthetics reduced time to extubation in medical and surgical ICU patients. The results of this study should be confirmed by large and high-quality randomized controlled studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016


  • Anesthesia
  • Critically ill
  • Intensive care
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Sedation
  • Volatile agents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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