Delirium shows its signature

A new blood test could help doctors identify patients at risk for delirium, a sudden, acute state of confusion that most often affects older adults and incurs $6.9 billion in medical costs each year in the U.S. It comes on ...

Jul 28, 2015
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Geriatrician discusses treating trauma in the elderly

One morning five years ago in the parking lot of Rhode Island Hospital, Dr. Michael Ehrlich, chair of orthopaedics in the Alpert Medical School, flagged down Dr. Richard Besdine, a geriatrician and professor of medicine and ...

Aug 19, 2015
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Developing delirium in the ICU linked to fatal outcomes

About one-third of patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) will develop delirium, a condition that lengthens hospital stays and substantially increases one's risk of dying in the hospital, according to a new study ...

Jun 04, 2015
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ICU delirium tied to higher death risk, study says

(HealthDay)—Intensive care unit patients who develop delirium have a higher risk of death, longer hospital stays and are more likely to have mental impairment after leaving the hospital, a large review finds.

Jun 01, 2015
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Delirium or acute confusional state is a common and severe neuropsychiatric syndrome with core features of acute onset and fluctuating course, attentional deficits and generalized severe disorganization of behavior. It typically involves other cognitive deficits, changes in arousal (hyperactive, hypoactive, or mixed), perceptual deficits, altered sleep-wake cycle, and psychotic features such as hallucinations and delusions. It is often caused by a disease process outside the brain, such as infection (urinary tract infection, pneumonia) or drug effects, particularly anticholinergics or other CNS depressants (benzodiazepines and opioids). Although hallucinations and delusions are sometimes present, these are not required for the diagnosis, and the symptoms of delirium are clinically distinct from those induced by psychosis or hallucinogens (with the exception of deliriants.)

Delirium itself is not a disease, but rather a clinical syndrome (a set of symptoms), which result from an underlying disease or new problem with mentation. Like its components (inability to focus attention, mental confusion and various impairments in awareness and temporal and spatial orientation), delirium is simply the common symptomatic manifestation of early brain or mental dysfunction (for any reason). Without careful assessment, delirium can easily be confused with a number of psychiatric disorders because many of the signs and symptoms are conditions present in dementia, depression, and psychosis.

Treatment of delirium requires treatment of the underlying causes. In some cases, temporary or palliative or symptomatic treatments are used to comfort patients or to allow better patient management (for example, a patient who, without understanding, is trying to pull out a ventilation tube that is required for survival). Delirium is probably the single most common acute disorder affecting adults in general hospitals. It affects 10-20% of all hospitalized adults, and 30-40% of elderly hospitalized patients and up to 80% of ICU patients.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

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