Emergency Central is a collection of disease, drug, and test information including 5-Minute Emergency Medicine Consult, Davis’s Drug, McGraw-Hill Medical’s Diagnosaurus®, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and MEDLINE Journals created for emergency medicine professionals. Explore these free sample topics:
-- The first section of this topic is shown below --
- Delirium is a clinical syndrome characterized by acute changes in awareness, cognition, and perception with a waxing and waning course.
- Delirium is a syndrome secondary to an underlying medical condition.
- Pathophysiology unknown:
- Diffuse cerebral dysfunction
- Derangements of cerebral acetylcholine
- CNS dopamine, γ-aminobutyric acid, and serotonin may be involved.
- Frequently missed by emergency medicine physicians due to atypical chief complaints.
- Associated with increased mortality for inpatients and increased length of stay.
- Meningitis or encephalitis
- Wernicke encephalopathy
- Hypoxia and hypoperfusion of the brain
- Intracranial bleed or mass
- Other pulmonary etiology of hypoxia
- Hypertensive crisis
- Acute coronary syndromes
- Hepatic encephalopathy
- Acute renal failure
- Collagen vascular disorder
- Environmental toxins
- Withdrawal from barbiturates or alcohol
- Electrolyte abnormalities
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Common presentation in older ED patients
- Up to 10% of older ED patients may have delirium.
- Many patients will present with subtle symptoms and vague chief complaints:
- Fall, dizzy, or not feeling well
- Waxing and waning symptoms
- Cause may be life-threatening condition.