ICU management of patients with Parkinson's disease or Parkinsonism

William D. Freeman, K. Meng Tan, G. A. Glass, Konstantinos Linos, Carole Foot, Marc Ziegenfuss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder, occurring in at least 1% of patients older than 65 years of age and characterized by bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor. Parkinsonism is a broad term for patients with PD and Parkinson's like disorders. Due to the aging population, the number of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with PD or disorders with Parkinsonism is expected to rise in the future. For optimal ICU care, PD co-morbidities of memory impairment, aspiration, and dysautonomia require special attention. Withdrawal of dopaminergic medications in the perioperative state or ICU can lead to worsened PD symptoms, chest wall rigidity complicating ventilator management, and a severe hyperpyrexia, rigid, encephalopathic state termed neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). PD patients are also sensitive to antipsychotic and antiemetic medications, which can exacerbate rigidity and aspiration. Elderly patients with PD are more sensitive to sedative medications and more susceptible to develop post-operative or ICU delirium, which has increased morbidity and mortality. PD patients are at increased risk of increased perioperative aspiration pneumonia and its associated morbidity and mortality. Specialized ICU management strategies for patients with PD are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-236
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Anaesthesia and Critical Care
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 2007


  • Intensive care
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Parkinsonism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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