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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
8-Apr-2010

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Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
44-020-319-22165
BioMed Central
@biomedcentral

Harm caused by nicotine withdrawal during intensive care

Nicotine withdrawal can cause dangerous agitation in intensive care patients. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Critical Care found that, compared to non-smokers, agitated smokers were more likely to accidentally remove tubes and catheters, require supplemental sedative, analgesic or anti-psychotic medications, or need physical restraints.

Damien du Cheyron, from Caen University Hospital, France, worked with a team of researchers to study the effects of nicotine withdrawal in 44 smokers and 100 non-smokers in the hospital's intensive care unit, finding that agitation was twice as common in smokers than controls. He said, "Agitation was significantly more common in smokers than in non-smokers. These results suggest the need to be aware of nicotine withdrawal syndrome in critically ill patients, and support the need for improved strategies to prevent agitation or treat it earlier".

None of the smokers in the study were allowed nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) during the study period. According to du Cheyron, "NRT remains a controversial topic in intensive care and has been associated with mortality. Due to the serious consequences of withdrawal-induced agitation, including sedation and physical restraint, we suggest that the use of nicotine replacement therapy should be tested by a well-designed, randomized controlled clinical trial in the ICU setting".

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Notes to Editors

1. The effect of carbon dioxide on near-death experiences in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survivors: a prospective observational study
Zalika Klemenc-Ketis, Janko Kersnik and Stefek Grmec
Critical Care (in press)

After the embargo, article available at the journal website: http://ccforum.com/content/14/2/R58

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication.

2. Critical Care is a high quality, peer-reviewed, international clinical medical journal. Critical Care aims to improve the care of critically ill patients by acquiring, discussing, distributing, and promoting evidence-based information relevant to intensivists. The journal is edited by Prof Jean-Louis Vincent (Belgium) and has an Impact Factor of 4.55

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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