While delirium may be an underlying cause of agitation in ICU patients, the more prevalent form of delirium is a quiet, hypoactive state that may result from sedation use.([FOOTNOTE=Girard TD, Pandharipande PP, Ely EW. Delirium in the intensive care unit.Crit Care. 2008;12 Suppl 3:S3.],[ANCHOR=],[LINK=]) Regardless of the subtype, delirium is closely associated with poor patient outcomes, making identifying and managing delirium an important strategy for critical care clinicians.1
In this video, leading ICU clinicians discuss delirium in the ICU, why they think assessing for delirium is so important, and the tools they use to diagnose this difficult issue.
By evaluating delirium, clinicians may be able to reduce the risk of oversedation.([FOOTNOTE=Barr J, Fraser GL, Puntillo K, et al; American College of Critical Care Medicine. Clinical practice guidelines for the management of pain, agitation, and delirium in adult patients in the intensive care unit. Crit Care Med. 2013;41(1):263-306.],[ANCHOR=],[LINK=]) By using sedation more effectively, we can work together to potentially reduce ICU ventilation time.
A key to avoiding unnecessary sedation and its clinical consequences is to understand the causes of agitation.