Muscle Relaxants in the Intensive Care Unit

  • James E. Caldwell
Conference paper


The administration of muscle relaxants to patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) is a widespread practice. In general, when administered for a short period of time, the pharmacology of muscle relaxants in ICU patients is similar to that in patients in the operating room setting. For short-term (<2 days) administration to patients in the ICU, drug doses, contraindications and complications will be broadly similar to those which apply in the operating room setting. However comparatively little is known about the pharmacology of muscle relaxants when administered for long periods of time, and many complications have been associated with their long-term use [1]. I will give clinical guidelines for the rational use of muscle relaxants, both short-term and long-term, in patients in the ICU. In addition, I will discuss the complications, particularly of long-term use, as these can have a serious impact on patient outcome.


Muscle Relaxant Critical Illness Polyneuropathy Creatine Kinase Concentration Severe Hyperkalemia Nondepolarizing Muscle Relaxant 
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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • James E. Caldwell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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