Accelerometer-based devices can be used to monitor sedation/agitation in the intensive care unit

Rishi Raj*, Kamonpun Ussavarungsi, Kenneth Nugent

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: Monitoring sedation/agitation levels in patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) are important to direct treatment and to improve outcomes. This study was designed to determine the potential use of accelerometer-based sensors/devices to objectively measure sedation/agitation in patients admitted to the ICU. Materials and methods: Accelerometer-based devices (actigraphs) were placed on nondominant wrists of 86 patients in the ICU after informed consent. The sedation/agitation levels were classified as deep sedation, light sedation, alert and calm, mild agitation and severe agitation, and measured at regular intervals. The sedation/agitation levels were correlated with the accelerometer data (downloaded raw actigraphy data). Results: The sedation/agitation levels correlated strongly with the accelerometer readings represented by mean actigraphy counts (r = 0.968; P = .007) and the proportion of time spent moving as determined by actigraphy (r = 0.979; P = .004). Conclusions: Accelerometer data correlate strongly with the sedation/agitation levels of patients in the ICUs, and appropriately designed accelerometer-based sensors/devices have the potential to be used for automating objective and continuous monitoring of sedation/agitation levels in patients in the ICU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)748-752
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • Accelerometer
  • Actigraphy
  • Agitation
  • Intensive care unit
  • Monitoring
  • Sedation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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