The vast majority of critically ill patients who receive mechanical ventilation now survive, even those with acute lung injury or acute respiratory distress syndrome. Over the past decade, an increasing number of studies have focused not only on survival, but also on the patients' experience of critical care. These studies have evaluated 3 periods: the intensive care unit (ICU) stay (confusion, delirium, acute stress, nightmares, hallucinations, and sleep disorders),1- 3 the first few weeks or months after ICU discharge (symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], cognitive impairment, and depression4), and the period beyond one year after ICU discharge.5 Many of these studies have shown a significant association between the amount of ICU sedation and decline in factual memory, presence of delusional memory, and additional PTSD-related symptoms.4
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