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Continuous sedation (CS) until death: mapping the literature by bibliometric analysis

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number6
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)1073-1082
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Sedation at the end of life, regardless of the nomenclature, is an increasingly debated practice at both clinical and bioethical levels. However, little is known about the characteristics and trends in scientific publications in this field of study.

This article presents a bibliometric analysis of the scientific publications on continuous sedation until death.

Four electronic databases (MEDLINE, PubMed, Embase, and PsycINFO®) were searched for the indexed material published between 1945 and 2011. This search resulted in bibliographic data of 273 published outputs that were analyzed using bibliometric techniques.

Data revealed a trend of increased scientific publication from the early 1990s. Published outputs, diverse in type (comments/letters, articles, reviews, case reports, editorials), were widely distributed across 94 journals of varying scientific disciplines (medicine, nursing, palliative care, law, ethics). Most journals (72.3%) were classified under Medical and Health Sciences, with the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management identified as the major journal in the field covering 12.1% of the total publications. Empirical research articles, mostly of a quantitative design, originated from 17 countries. Although Japan and The Netherlands were found to be the leaders in research article productivity, it was the U.K. and the U.S. that ranked top in terms of the quantity of published outputs.

This is the first bibliometric analysis on continuous sedation until death that can be used to inform future studies. Further research is needed to refine controversies on terminology and ethical acceptability of the practice, as well as conditions and modalities of its use.