Intensive care unit delirium

Crit Care Nurs Clin North Am. 2010 Jun;22(2):161-78. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2010.03.003.


Once considered a benign iatrogenic consequence of intensive care unit (ICU) admission, ICU delirium is now recognized as a prominent disorder that negatively affects patient morbidity and mortality. The primary goal in the detection and treatment of ICU delirium is to ensure the safety of the patient and caregiver(s). Most critically ill patients possess 1 or more risk factors for the development of delirium; therefore, interventions that target delirium assessment and prevention are essential. This article highlights some of the recent data that have emerged regarding ICU delirium, including its definition, incidence, risk factors, diagnostic tools, and treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Delirium / diagnosis*
  • Delirium / epidemiology
  • Delirium / etiology
  • Delirium / therapy*
  • Dexmedetomidine / therapeutic use
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Haloperidol / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use
  • Incidence
  • Intensive Care Units* / organization & administration
  • Mass Screening
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety Management
  • Serotonin Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Dexmedetomidine
  • Haloperidol