Background: The use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) sometimes requires deep levels of sedation (Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale [RASS] −5) in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The role of obesity in opioid and sedative requirements remains unclear in patients receiving ECMO. Objective: This study sought to determine whether obesity increases midazolam and opioid requirements in patients receiving venovenous (vv)-ECMO up to the first 7 days after initiation. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of adult patients with ARDS managed with vv-ECMO. Results: The obese (n = 38) and nonobese (n = 43) groups had similar baseline characteristics. Fentanyl equivalents were significantly higher on day 3 in the obese group (P = 0.02) despite similar RASS scores with no differences in midazolam requirements. There were no differences in duration of ECMO, length of stay, or mortality. Conclusion and Relevance: Daily midazolam requirements were not significantly different, and opioid requirements were only significantly higher in the obese group on day 3 despite similar levels of sedation. The impact of obesity with the addition of ECMO and how to adapt doses of medications remains elusive.

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The Annals of Pharmacotherapy
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Verkerk, B.S., Dzierba, A. L., Muir, J., Der-Nigoghossian, C., Brodie, D, Bacchetta, M., … Bakker, J. (2019). Opioid and Benzodiazepine Requirements in Obese Adult Patients Receiving Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy. doi:10.1177/1060028019872940