Circadian Disruption in Critical Illness

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Circadian rhythms play a vital role in metabolic, hormonal, and immunologic function and are often disrupted in patients in the ICU. Circadian rhythms modulate the molecular machinery that responds to injury and illness which can impact recovery. Potential factors contributing to the alteration in circadian rhythmicity in intensive care unit (ICU) patients include abnormal lighting, noise, altered feeding schedules, extensive patient care interactions and medications. These alterations in circadian rhythms in ICU patients may affect outcomes and therefore, normalization of circadian rhythmicity in critically ill patients may be an important part of ICU care.

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