[Postoperative delirium in the critically ill]

T-K Schmitt, F-G Pajonk
Der Anaesthesist 2008, 57 (4): 403-29; quiz 430-1
Acute confusional states (delirium) occur in up to 80% of patients in the intensive care unit. Delirium is an important independent prognostic determinant of hospital outcome, including duration of mechanical ventilation, nursing home placement, functional decline and death. Additionally, it may herald systemic diseases such as sepsis and multi-organ failure. Recently, a number of new screening instruments have been validated for the monitoring of delirium in non-communicative patients receiving mechanical ventilation. Critical care patients should be routinely assessed for delirium and treated immediately using available preventive and therapeutic measures, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological, to improve the clinical course.

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