Delirium management in critically ill patients

Enrique Calvo-Ayala, Babar Khan

Abstract


Delirium among critically ill patients is common. Presence of delirium imparts a poorer prognosis to patients, including longer ICU and hospital length of stay, increased risk of institutionalization, higher health related costs, and elevated mortality. Even with such grave consequences, the rates of delirium diagnosis are dire. The importance of early recognition through validated tools and appropriate management of this life-threatening condition cannot be over emphasized. This article provides an overview of delirium pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management with a focus on critically ill patients.

Keywords: intensive care unit; critical illness; acute brain dysfunction; delirium; coma.

Received: September 29, 2012; Accepted: November 30, 2012; Published: January 12, 2013

Corresponding Author: Babar A. Khan, MD, MS, 410 West 10th Street, Suite 2000, Indianapolis, IN 46202 USA.E-mail: bakhan@iupui.edu.


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