Can intensive care unit delirium be prevented and reduced? lessons learned and future directions

S. Jean Hsieh, E. Wesley Ely, Michelle N. Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Delirium is a form of acute brain injury that occurs in up to 80% of critically ill patients. It is a source of enormous societal and financial burdens due to increased mortality, prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stays, and long-term neuropsychological and functional deficits in ICU survivors. These poor outcomes are not only independently associated with the development of delirium but are also associated with increasing delirium duration. Therefore, interventions should strive both to prevent the occurrence of ICU delirium and to limit its persistence. Both patient-centered and ICU-Acquired risk factors need to be addressed early in the ICU course to maximize the efficacy of prevention strategies and to improve long-term outcomes of ICU patients. In this article, we review strategies for early detection of patientswho are delirious andwho are at high risk for developing delirium, and we present a clinically useful ICU delirium prevention and reduction strategy for clinicians to incorporate into their daily practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-656
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Critical illness
  • Delirium
  • Early therapy
  • Prevention
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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