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Neurol Clin. 2011 Nov;29(4):749-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ncl.2011.08.004.

Delirium in the intensive care unit: a review.

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Center for Health Services Research, Vanderbilt Medical Center, 1215 21st Avenue South MCE Suite 6100, Nashville, TN 37232-1269, USA.


Delirium occurs commonly in both general medical and intensive care unit (ICU) patients, with prevalence rates of up to 80% reported. A common expression of acute brain dysfunction, it is related to wide-ranging untoward outcomes such as prolonged hospitalization, increased costs, higher mortality, and, potentially long-term cognitive impairment. Different risk factors are associated with delirium, including sedation, which has implications for patient management. Multicomponent interventions to prevent delirium, developed in the non-ICU setting, can be adapted to critically ill patients with the purpose of reducing its incidence. Future studies should evaluate target interventions to prevent delirium in the ICU.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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