Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 61  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 352-358

Delirium in medical intensive care units: Incidence, subtypes, risk factors, and outcome

1 Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS, Patna, Bihar, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences, Sikkim Manipal University, Sikkim, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Harshavardhan Sampath
Department of Psychiatry, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences, Sikkim Manipal University, 5th Mile, Tadong, Gangtok - 737 102, Sikkim
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_583_18

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Background: Delirium is a frequent yet underdiagnosed neuropsychiatric condition encountered in intensive care units (ICUs). Being both a preventable and potentially reversible process associated with significant morbidity and mortality, understanding risk factors that predispose and precipitate delirium in any given patient are critical in ICUs. Aims and Objectives: The aim of this study is to evaluate the incidence, motor subtypes, risk factors, and clinical outcome of delirium in the medical ICU. Materials and Methods: We used a prospective study design on a cohort of consecutive medical ICU admissions of a tertiary care teaching hospital. The Confusion Assessment Method-ICU and Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale were used to diagnose and motor subtype delirium, respectively, along with a checklist to assess risk factors. Results: Of the 280 ICU admissions, 88 (31.4%) developed delirium. Hypoactive delirium was the most common motor subtype (55.7%). The detection rate of delirium was 12.5% (lowest for hypoactive delirium at 2.04%). Age, gender, and years of education did not significantly predict delirium (all P > 0.05). Tobacco use, chronic liver disease, and past episodes of delirium significantly predisposed, while mechanical ventilation, hypoxia, fever, raised levels of bilirubin and creatinine, and benzodiazepine administration significantly precipitated ICU delirium. Delirium was significantly associated with longer ICU stay (t = 4.23, P = 0.000) and 1-month postdischarge mortality (χ2 = 6.867, P = 0.009). Conclusion: Detection of delirium is challenging, especially in ICU patients on mechanical ventilation and hypoactive delirium. Screening and monitoring for predisposing and precipitating risk factors can greatly improve the odds of detection and intervention as ICU delirium is associated with significant morbidity and mortality.



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