Delirium, or acute confusional state, is a syndrome characterized by an acute change in cognition with altered consciousness and impaired attention that fluctuates over time. It is a common diagnosis in the hospitalized patient, especially in the elderly, and can be associated with serious complications. Delirium often goes unrecognized and untreated. Symptoms are wide ranging, thus a clinical diagnosis can be missed without a formal assessment. The following module provides hospitalists with methods for diagnosing and managing delirium. A management strategy for the prevention and treatment of alcohol withdrawal delirium is also discussed.
- Diagnose delirium and characterize the sub-types.
- Describe the morbidity and mortality associated with delirium, identify the incidence and prevalence of delirium in the inpatient setting, and explain the reasons for the high non-detection rates.
- List the predisposing and precipitating risk factors for developing delirium and discuss prevention strategies in the high-risk patient.
- Appreciate delirium as a medical urgency and describe an approach to the evaluation of delirium.
- Discuss nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic treatment strategies for delirium.
- Describe a management strategy for the prevention and treatment of alcohol withdrawal delirium.
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine takes responsibility for the content, quality, and scientific integrity of this CME activity.
Credit Designation Statement: The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Release date: August 2008. Expiration date: August 2010
*Hospitalist and Instructor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Disclaimer: The opinions and recommendations expressed by faculty and other experts whose input is included in this program are their own. This enduring material is produced for educational purposes only. Use of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine name implies review of educational format design and approach. Please review the complete prescribing information of specific drugs or combination of drugs, including indications, contraindications, warnings and adverse effects before administering pharmacologic therapy to patients.
Supported by an educational grant from Merck & Co., Inc.