Concluding Comments

Delirium represents a symptom complex from a variety of etiologies that results in a global encephalo-pathic process. It may result from CNS or systemic infection, toxic effects, or oxidative injury. Anticholinergic, sedative-hypnotic, or other agents may contribute to its occurrence. Having a high index of suspicion for the development of delirium in patients who are severely ill is important, because the rapid identification and treatment of delirium are essential to prevent associated severe morbidity and high mortality. Delirium in children and adolescents is similar in presentation, etiology, and outcome to that in adults. The DRS and DRS-R-98 are useful for diagnosis and for monitoring patients with delirium. The accurate diagnosis of delirium leads to attempts to address the underlying medical condition that led to its development. Environmental support is important in the treatment of delirium, and an-tipsychotic medications, both typical and atypical, are useful in controlling its symptoms. Although the presentation, etiology, risk factors, and treatment of delirium are most studied in the elderly and least in the young, increased interest and improved methodologies for its detection will lead to further essential studies on the treatment and outcome of delirium in pediatric populations.

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