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Chin J Traumatol. 2009 Dec;12(6):370-4.

Importance of recognizing and managing delirium in intensive care unit.

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Department of Anesthesiology, First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang Univesity, Hangzhou, China.


Delirium is an acute and fluctuating change in mental status, with inattention and altered levels of consciousness. It is a common comorbidity in intensive care units (ICU), resulting in delayed withdrawal of mechanical ventilation, prolonged length of stay in ICU, increased ICU mortality and impaired long-term cognitive function of the survivors. Narcotic or psychoactive medication is one of the major risk factors that contribute to ICU delirium. Surveys conducted in several countries indicated that delirium in ICU was inadequately monitored, underdiagnosed and lacked standardized treatment. In order to improve the prevention and treatment of ICU delirium, it is imperative that the ICU professionals should enrich their knowledge about this comorbidity, familiarize themselves with its screening and management, as well as standardize the administration of narcotic and psychoactive medications.

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