Posted on August 5, 2008 in by admin15 Comments »

Delirium is one of the unresolved challenges to medicine.

Delirium is a serious acute medical condition; effectively a medical emergency. It can result in serious adverse outcomes for many patients – death and dementia.  In any other condition it would have clinicians searching for information with the same commitment given to cancer or HIV.

Delirium?  It’s a familiar term in and out of hospital describing a distressing experience of disorientation and agitation.  We think we can all recognise the delirious patient, unable to reason, often a danger to themselves and staff.  But in fact most delirium goes undiagnosed as it is a quiet confusion, a brain failing by shut down rather than firing up.  Look through this website, access the links, inform yourselves and tell friends and colleagues.  

Delirium in ICU?

Delirium is the commonest neuropsychiatric condition in hospital, 15% to 25% on general medical wards, up to 60% on surgical wards – critical care 80% in the sickest ventilated patient. These are the hard facts.  There are no 2 ways about it. Yes there is (and always has been) a currently grossly under diagnosed condition in your critical care unit that will influence whether the patient lives or dies regardless of expensive drugs, vasopressin or low-volume ventilation. It can be diagnosed in 2 minutes in an easy to apply, non-invasive test with no equipment needed. Throw down the gauntlet, fight delirium.

This UK website is the first in the country about ICU delirium incidence and outcomes. It teaches you how to detect it in sedated and ventilated patients and it’ll help you to teach others and implement the monitoring in your unit. It informs about what’s known about the management and treatment of delirium with news and developments. Finally there are links and the opportunity to ask questions or express your opinions.

Thanks to the Alzheimer’s Society and Mr J.W. Dalling for having the foresight and imagination to resource this project.