Society of Critical Care Medicine

View all recommendations from this society

Released January 29, 2021

Don’t delay progress towards liberation from mechanical ventilation.

Although mechanical ventilation is frequently lifesaving, it is also associated with numerous complications. Discontinuation of mechanical ventilation support is frequently the rate limiting step in ICU discharge. Current guidelines recommend removing patients from mechanical ventilation support as soon possible, utilizing mechanical ventilation liberation and sedation interruption protocols in concert with structured multidisciplinary rounds.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

A diversified, multiprofessional task force of 17 critical care quality and clinical experts was formed with an aim to identify five new Choosing Wisely for Critical Care recommendations. The task force included practicing clinicians representing community, military and academic centers. A priori three domains were deemed important: 1) patient safety and quality of care; 2) strength of evidence to support the recommendation; and 3) potential improvement in patient outcomes. Using a modified Delphi consensus building methodology and a quantitative survey analysis, eight novel recommendations were identified and deemed representative of wasteful critical care practices. Following a quantitative survey of the SCCM membership and review by the SCCM Council, the five highest ranked recommendations established SCCM’s next five Choosing Wisely for critical care were approved. The five recommendations address invasive devices, proactive liberation from mechanical ventilation, antibiotic stewardship, early mobilization, and providing goal-concordant care.


Devlin, JW., Skrobik Y., Gelinas, C. et al. Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Pain, Agitation/Sedation, Delirium, Immobility, and Sleep Disruption in Adult Patients in the ICU, Critical Care Medicine: September 2018 – Volume 46 – Issue 9 – p e825-e873 doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000003299