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Tex Heart Inst J. 1993;20(3):180-7.

Psychiatric complications in the critically ill cardiac patient.

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Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


Psychiatric consultation to the critically ill cardiac patient focuses on several common problems: anxiety, delirium, depression, personality reactions, and behavioral disturbances. A review of the causes and treatment of anxiety in the coronary care unit is followed by a discussion of delirium in the critically ill cardiac patient. A description of delirium associated with the use of the intraaortic balloon pump and its treatment with high doses of intravenous haloperidol is also included. After the initial crisis has been stabilized in the critical care unit, the premorbid personality traits of the patient may emerge as behavioral disturbances--particularly as the duration of stay increases. The use of psychiatric consultation completes the discussion.

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