Rationale: Racial disparities in pain management have been previously reported for children receiving emergency care. Objectives: To determine whether patient race or ethnicity is associated with the broader goal of pain management and sedation among pediatric patients mechanically ventilated for acute respiratory failure. Methods: Planned secondary analysis of RESTORE (Randomized Evaluation of Sedation Titration for Respiratory Failure). RESTORE, a cluster-randomized clinical trial conducted in 31 U.S. pediatric intensive care units, compared protocolized sedation management (intervention arm) with usual care (control arm). Participants included 2,271 children identified as non-Hispanic white (white, n = 1,233), non-Hispanic Black (Black, n = 502), or Hispanic of any race (Hispanic, n = 536). Results: Within each treatment arm, neither opioid nor benzodiazepine selection, nor cumulative dosing, differed significantly among race and ethnicity groups. Black patients experienced fewer days with an episode of pain (compared with white patients in the control arm and with Hispanic patients in the intervention arm) and experienced less iatrogenic withdrawal syndrome (compared with white patients in either arm or with Hispanic patients in the intervention arm). The percentage of days awake and calm while intubated was not significantly different in pairwise comparisons by race and ethnicity groups in either the control arm (median: white, 75%; Black, 71%; Hispanic, 75%) or the intervention arm (white, 86%; Black, 88%; Hispanic, 85%). Conclusions: Across multiple measures, our study found scattered differences in sedation management among critically ill Black, Hispanic, and white children that did not consistently favor any group. However, racial disparities related to implicit bias cannot be completely ruled out. Clinical trial registered with clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00814099).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine