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J Clin Anesth. 1991 Jan-Feb;3(1):60-3.

Postanesthetic delirium: historical perspectives.

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Department of Anesthesia, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27103.


Postanesthetic delirium is a type of postoperative emotional response occurring immediately after emergence from general anesthesia. Associated with excitement and confusion, the alternative terms emergence delirium or postanesthetic excitement are frequently used. Historically, the more encompassing term postoperative psychosis is used interchangeably but more frequently refers to those conditions occurring after a lucid interval of 24 to 48 hours. Either phenomenon may arise from a variety of disturbances, with drug reactions, hypoxemia, or reaction to pain being common, or it may arise from psychological causes. Reported is a case of postanesthetic delirium in a healthy young man. An historical overview of this potentially harmful condition, with specific recommendations for diagnosis and treatment, also is presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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