Delirium: Phenomenologic and Etiologic Subtypes

Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
International Psychogeriatrics (Impact Factor: 1.93). 02/1991; 3(2):135-47. DOI: 10.1017/S1041610291000613
Source: PubMed


While all delirious patients have clouding of consciousness (alteration of attention) and cognitive dysfunction, the level of alertness of different patients may range from stuporous to hyperalert. We, therefore, developed an analog scale to rate the alertness of delirious patients, and a separate scale to rate the severity of their clouding of consciousness. Based on these scales, patients were categorized overall as relatively "activated" (relatively alert despite clouding of consciousness), or "somnolent" (relatively stuporous along with clouding of consciousness). Cognitive function was estimated using the Mini-Mental Status Exam. Separate ratings were made of hallucinations, delusions, illusions, and agitated behavior. Activated and somnolent patients had similar ages, overall severity of delirium, and Mini-Mental Status Exam scores. Activated patients, however, were more likely to have hallucinations, delusions, and illusions than somnolent patients, and were more likely to have agitated behavior. Patients with hepatic encephalopathy were more likely to have somnolent delirium, while patients with alcohol withdrawal appeared more likely to have activated delirium. These data indicate that phenomenologic subtypes of delirium can be defined on the basis of level of alertness. These subtypes are validated in part by their differing associations with symptoms unrelated to alertness. These subtypes may have different pathophysiology, and thus, potentially different treatments.

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    • "This issue is relevant because this subtype of delirium is the most prevalent [27]. A lower prevalence of delusions and perceptual disturbances in hypoactive delirium does not appear to explain these findings [28]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Delirium is a frequent form of acute brain dysfunction in critically ill patients, and several detection tools for it have been developed for use in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The objective of this study is to evaluate the current evidence on the accuracy of the Confusion Assessment Method for Intensive Care Unit (CAM-ICU) and the Intensive Care Delirium Screening Checklist (ICDSC) for the diagnosis of delirium in critically ill patients. Methods A systematic review was conducted to identify articles on the evaluation of the CAM-ICU and the ICDSC in ICU patients. A MEDLINE, SciELO, CINAHL and EMBASE databases search was performed for articles published in the English language, involving adult populations and comparing these diagnostic tools with the gold standard, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria. Results were summarized by meta-analysis. The QUADAS scale was used to assess the quality of the studies. Results Nine studies evaluating the CAM-ICU (including 969 patients) and four evaluating the ICDSC (n = 361 patients) were included in the final analysis. The pooled sensitivity of the CAM-ICU was 80.0% (95% confidence interval (CI): 77.1 to 82.6%), and the pooled specificity was 95.9% (95% CI: 94.8 to 96.8%). The diagnostic odds ratio was 103.2 (95% CI: 39.6 to 268.8). The pooled area under the summary receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was 0.97. The pooled sensitivity of the ICDSC was 74% (95% CI: 65.3 to 81.5%), and the pooled specificity was 81.9% (95% CI: 76.7 to 86.4%). The diagnostic odds ratio was 21.5 (95% CI: 8.51 to 54.4). The AUC was 0.89. Conclusions The CAM-ICU is an excellent diagnostic tool in critically ill ICU patients, whereas the ICDSC has moderate sensitivity and good specificity. The available data suggest that both CAM-ICU and the ICDSC can be used as a screening tool for the diagnosis of delirium in critically ill patients.
    Critical care (London, England) 07/2012; 16(4):R115. DOI:10.1186/cc11407 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    • "Control patients were referred to the research team from their treating outpatient or inpatient service psychiatrist. Dementia and schizophrenia patients were chosen as control groups because of overlapping symptoms with delirium.2,15 Other psychiatric disorder patients did not have significant cognitive dysfunction or psychotic symptoms and typically had mild to moderate depression or anxiety disorder. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aims of the present study were 1) to standardize the validity and reliability of the Korean version of Delirium Rating Scale-Revised-98 (DRS-R98-K) and 2) to establish the optimum cut-off value, sensitivity, and specificity for discriminating delirium from other non-delirious psychiatric conditions. Using DSM-IV criteria, 157 subjects (69 delirium, 29 dementia, 32 schizophrenia, and 27 other psychiatric patients) were enrolled. Subjects were evaluated using DRS-R98-K, DRS-K, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE-K), and Clinical Global Impression-Severity (CGI-S) scale. DRS-R98-K total and severity scores showed high correlations with DRS-K. They were significantly different across all groups (p=0.000). However, neither MMSE-K nor CGI-S distinguished delirium from dementia. All DRS-R98-K diagnostic items (#14-16) and items #1 and 2 significantly discriminated delirium from dementia. Cronbach's alpha coefficient revealed high internal consistency for DRS-R98-K total (r=0.91) and severity (r=0.89) scales. Interrater reliability (ICC between 0.96 and 1) was very high. Using receiver operating characteristic analysis, the area under the curve of DRS-R98-K total score was 0.948 between the delirium group and all other groups and 0.873 between the delirium and dementia groups. The best cut-off scores in DRS-R98-K total score were 18.5 and 19.5 between the delirium and the other three groups and 20.5 between the delirium and dementia groups. We demonstrated that DRS-R98-K is a valid and reliable instrument for assessing delirium severity and diagnosis and discriminating delirium from dementia and other psychiatric disorders in Korean patients.
    Psychiatry investigation 03/2011; 8(1):30-8. DOI:10.4306/pi.2011.8.1.30 · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    • "However, case reviews demonstrate that the individual is medically unstable and in a rapidly declining state that has a high risk of mortality even with medical intervention or in the absence of restraint stress or CED deployment [5] [6]. Delirium is a syndrome, or group of symptoms, caused by a disturbance of consciousness in the normal functioning of the brain [7]. In hyperactive delirium, there is a change in awareness and response to the environment, which manifests as agitation, hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis. "
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    ABSTRACT: Excited delirium (ED) syndrome is a serious medical condition associated with acute onset of agitated violent behavior that often culminates in a sudden unexplained death. While the contribution of restraint, struggle and the use of conductive energy devices (CED) to the cause and manner of death raise controversy, a CNS dysfunction of dopamine signaling may underlie the delirium and fatal autonomic dysfunction. We conducted a mortality review for a case series of ninety excited delirium deaths and present results on the association of a 2-protein biomarker signature. We conducted quantitative analyses of the dopamine transporter and heat shock protein 70 validated for specificity and degree of interindividual variation. Incident circumstances, force measures, autopsy and toxicology results were determined for all subjects. A majority of the victims in this case series tested positive for cocaine in blood and brain, although four had no licit or illicit drugs or alcohol measured at autopsy. Mean core body temperature where recorded was 40.7 degrees C. The expression of the heat shock protein HSPA1B transcript was elevated 1.8-4-fold in postmortem brain. The elevation of Hsp70 in autopsy brain specimens confirms that hyperthermia is an associated symptom and often a harbinger of death in these cases. Dopamine transporter levels were below the range of values measured in age-matched controls, providing pathologic evidence for increased risk of chaotic dopamine signaling in excited delirium. When combined with descriptions of the decedents' behavior prior to death, a 2-protein biomarker signature can serve as a reliable forensic tool for identifying the excited delirium syndrome at autopsy.
    Forensic science international 07/2009; 190(1-3):e13-9. DOI:10.1016/j.forsciint.2009.05.012 · 2.14 Impact Factor
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