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In the intensive care setting, delirium is a common occurrence; however, the impact of the level of alertness has never been evaluated. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the delirium characteristics in the drowsy, as well as the alert and calm patient.
In this prospective cohort study, 225 intensive care patients with Richmond Agitation and Sedation Scale (RASS) scores of −1 — drowsy and 0 — alert and calm were evaluated with the Delirium Rating Scale-Revised-1998 (DRS-R-98) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 4th edition text revision (DSM-IV-TR)-determined diagnosis of delirium.
In total, 85 drowsy and 140 alert and calm patients were included. Crucial items for the correct identification of delirium were sleep–wake cycle disturbances, language abnormalities, thought process alterations, psychomotor retardation, disorientation, inattention, short- and long-term memory, as well as visuo-spatial impairment, and the temporal onset. Conversely, perceptual disturbances, delusions, affective lability, psychomotor agitation, or fluctuations were items, which identified delirium less correctly. Further, the severities of inattentiveness and visuo-spatial impairment were indicative of delirium in both alert- or calmness and drowsiness.
Significance of results
The impairment in the cognitive domain, psychomotor retardation, and sleep–wake cycle disturbances correctly identified delirium irrespective of the level alertness. Further, inattentiveness and — to a lesser degree — visuo-spatial impairment could represent a specific marker for delirium in the intensive care setting meriting further evaluation.
The importance of the proper identification of delirium, with its high incidence and adversities in the intensive care setting, has been widely recognized. One common screening instrument is the Intensive Care Delirium Screening Checklist (ICDSC); however, the symptom profile and key features of delirium dependent on the level of sedation have not yet been evaluated.
In this prospective cohort study, the ICDSC was evaluated versus the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition, text revision, diagnosis of delirium set as standard with respect to the symptom profile, and correct identification of delirium. The aim of this study was to identify key features of delirium in the intensive care setting dependent on the Richmond Agitation and Sedation Scale levels of sedation: drowsiness versus alert and calmness.
The 88 delirious patients of 225 were older, had more severe disease, and prolonged hospitalization. Irrespective of the level of sedation, delirium was correctly classified by items related to inattention, disorientation, psychomotor alterations, inappropriate speech or mood, and symptom fluctuation. In the drowsy patients, inattention reached substantial sensitivity and specificity, whereas psychomotor alterations and sleep-wake cycle disturbances were sensitive lacked specificity. The positive prediction was substantial across items, whereas the negative prediction was only moderate. In the alert and calm patient, the sensitivities were substantial for psychomotor alterations, sleep-wake cycle disturbances, and symptom fluctuations; however, these fluctuations were not specific. The positive prediction was moderate and the negative prediction substantial. Between the nondelirious drowsy and alert, the symptom profile was similar; however, drowsiness was associated with alterations in consciousness.
Significance of results
In the clinical routine, irrespective of the level of sedation, delirium was characterized by the ICDSC items for inattention, disorientation, psychomotor alterations, inappropriate speech or mood and symptom fluctuation. Further, drowsiness caused altered levels of consciousness.
This cross-sectional survey examined changes in perceived relationships and sexual activity in a sample of thyroid cancer patients and their partners, taking into account sociodemographic and disease-related variables, as well as such outcome measures as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and quality of life (QoL).
A total of 38 patients with thyroid cancer who were being treated at the department of nuclear medicine in Zürich or Lucerne over the preceding seven years, as well as their partners, completed questionnaires about the quality of their relationships (RQ), about perceptions of changes in their relationships, and about their frequency of sexual activity. They also filled out prevalidated questionnaires related to anxiety, depression, fatigue, and QoL.
Some 17 patients (44.7%) and 16 partners (42.1 %) reported that the cancer diagnosis had changed their relationships. Of these, 10 (26.3%) patients and 9 (23.7%) partners reported positive changes only, while 7 patients (18.4%) and 7 partners (18.4%) reported mixed or negative changes. A perceived mixed/negative relationship change was associated with increased depression and lower RQ in patients and partners, as well as with increased anxiety in patients. While the frequency of sexual activity only changed in roughly half of patients and partners (16 patients [42.1%] and 20 partners [52.6%]), increased sexual activity was associated with lower physical QoL scores and a higher depression score than in counterparts who reported no change.
Significance of Results:
Compared to other cancer sites, in our sample thyroid cancer had a relatively small impact on patient–partner relationships and levels of intimacy. We found that screening patients and their partners with a simple question—“Did the diagnosis of cancer change your relationship?”—can lead to early detection of couples who are potentially at risk for perceived negative relationship changes and can facilitate timely psychosocial referral for couple's therapy.
Similar to delirium, its subsyndromal form has been recognized as the cause of diverse adverse outcomes. Nonetheless, the nature of this subsyndromal delirium remains vastly understudied. Therefore, in the following, we evaluate the phenomenological characteristics of this syndrome versus no and full-syndromal delirium.
In this prospective cohort study, we evaluated the Delirium Rating Scale–Revised, 1998 (DRS–R–98) versus the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., Text Revision (DSM–IV–TR) diagnostic criteria and examined the diagnosis of delirium with respect to phenomenological distinctions in the intensive care setting.
Out of 289 patients, 36 with subsyndromal delirium versus 86 with full-syndromal and 167 without delirium were identified. Agreement with respect to the DSM–IV–TR diagnosis of delirium was perfect. The most common subtype in those with subsyndromal delirium was hypoactive, in contrast to mixed subtype in those with full-syndromal delirium versus no motor alterations in those without delirium. By presence and severity of delirium symptoms, subsyndromal delirium was intermediate. The ability of the DRS–R–98 items to discriminate between either form of delirium was substantial. Between subsyndromal and no delirium, the cognitive domain and sleep–wake cycle were more impaired and allowed a distinction with no delirium. Further, between full- and subsyndromal delirium, the prevalence and severity of individual DRS–R–98 items were greater. Although the differences between these two forms of delirium was substantial, the items were not very specific, indicating that the phenomenology of subsyndromal delirium is closer to full-syndromal delirium.
Significance of results:
Phenomenologically, subsyndromal delirium was found to be distinct from and intermediate between no delirium and full-syndromal delirium. Moreover, the greater proximity to full-syndromal delirium indicated that subsyndromal delirium represents an identifiable subform of full-syndromal delirium.
In the intensive care setting, delirium is a common occurrence that comes with subsequent adversities. Therefore, several instruments have been developed to screen for and detect delirium. Their validity and psychometric properties, however, remain controversial.
In this prospective cohort study, the Confusion Assessment Method for the Intensive Care Unit (CAM–ICU) and the Intensive Care Delirium Screening Checklist (ICDSC) were evaluated versus the DSM–IV–TR in the diagnosis of delirium with respect to their validity and psychometric properties.
Out of some 289 patients, 210 with matching CAM–ICU, ICDSC, and DSM–IV–TR diagnoses were included. Between the scales, the prevalence of delirium ranged from 23.3% with the CAM–ICU, to 30.5% with the ICDSC, to 43.8% with the DSM–IV–TR criteria. The CAM–ICU showed only moderate concurrent validity (Cohen's κ = 0.44) and sensitivity (50%), but high specificity (95%). The ICDSC also reached moderate agreement (Cohen's κ = 0.60) and sensitivity (63%) while being very specific (95%). Between the CAM–ICU and the ICDSC, the concurrent validity was again only moderate (Cohen's κ = 0.56); however, the ICDSC yielded higher sensitivity and specificity (78 and 83%, respectively).
Significance of Results:
In the daily clinical routine, neither the CAM–ICU nor the ICDSC, common tools used in screening and detecting delirium in the intensive care setting, reached sufficient concurrent validity; nor did they outperform the DSM–IV–TR diagnostic criteria with respect to sensitivity or positive prediction, but they were very specific. Thus, the non-prediction by the CAM–ICU or ICDSC did not refute the presence of delirium. Between the CAM–ICU and ICDSC, the ICDSC proved to be the more accurate instrument.
The management of and prognosis for delirium are affected by its subtype: hypoactive, hyperactive, mixed, and none. The DMSS–4, an abbreviated version of the Delirium Motor Symptom Scale, is a brief instrument for the assessment of delirium subtypes. However, it has not yet been evaluated in an intensive care setting.
We performed a prospective/descriptive cohort study in order to determine the internal consistency, reliability, and validity of the relevant items of the DMSS–4 versus the Delirium Rating Scale–Revised-98 (DRS–R-98) and the original DMSS in a surgical intensive care setting.
A total of 289 elderly, predominantly male patients were screened for delirium, and 122 were included in our sample. The internal consistency of the DMSS–4 items was excellent (Cronbach's α = 0.92), and between the DMSS–4 and DRS–R-98 the overall concurrent validity was substantial (Cramer's V = 0.67). Within individual motor subtypes, concurrent validity remained at least substantial (Cohen's κ = 0.65–0.81) and sensitivity high (69.8 to 82.2%), in contrast to those of the no-motor subtype, with less validity and sensitivity (κ = 0.28, 22%). Similarly, total concurrent validity between the DMSS–4 and the original DMSS reached perfection (Cramer's V = 0.83), as did agreement between the subtypes (κ = 0.83–0.92), while sensitivity remained high (88.2–100%). Only in those with delirium with no-motor subtype was agreement moderate (κ = 0.56) and sensitivity lower (67%). Specificity was high across all subtypes (91.2–99.1%). The DMSS–4 yielded very sensitive ratings, particularly for hypoactive and hyperactive motor symptoms, and interrater agreement was excellent (Fleiss's κ = 0.83).
Significance of Results:
We found the DMSS–4 to be a most reliable and valid brief assessment of delirium in characterizing the subtypes of delirium in an intensive care setting, with increased sensitivity to hypoactive and hyperactive motor alterations.
The aim of this qualitative study was to gain a deeper understanding about couples' relationship changes over time (the first six months) after one partner is diagnosed with an incurable advanced melanoma (stage III or IV).
In semistructured interviews, eight patients and their partners were asked separately about potential changes in their relationship since diagnosis. The same questions were asked again six months later, but focusing on relationship changes over the preceding six months. Some 32 audiotaped interviews were analyzed applying qualitative content analysis.
At baseline (t1), relationship changes were mostly reported in terms of caring, closeness/distance regulation, and communication patterns. While changes in caregiving and distance/closeness regulation remained main issues at six months follow-up (t2), greater appreciation of the relationship and limitations in terms of planning spare time also emerged as major issues. Unexpectedly, 50% of patients and partners reported actively hiding their negative emotions and sorrows from their counterparts to spare them worry. Furthermore, qualitative content analysis revealed relationship changes even in those patients and partners who primarily reported no changes over the course of the disease.
Significance of results:
Our findings revealed a differentiated and complex picture about relationship changes over time, which also might aid in the development of support programs for couples dealing with advanced cancer, focusing on the aspects of caring, closeness/distance regulation, and communication patterns.
Studies on decisional capacity have primarily focused on cognitive disorders, whereas noncognitive disorders remain understudied. The purpose of our study was to assess decisional capacity across a wide spectrum of medical and psychiatric disorders.
More than 2,500 consecutive consults were screened for decisional capacity, and 336 consults were reviewed at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York. Sociodemographic and medical variables, medical and psychiatric diagnoses, as well as decisional capacity assessments were recorded and analyzed.
Consults for decisional capacity were most commonly called for in male patients with cognitive and substance abuse disorders. Less commonly, consults were called for patients with mood or psychotic disorders. Overall, about two thirds of patients (64.7%) were deemed not to have decisional capacity. Among medical diagnoses, neurological disorders contributed to decisional incapacity, and among the psychiatric diagnoses, cognitive disorders were most frequently documented in cases lacking decisional capacity (54.1%) and interfered more commonly with decisional capacity than substance abuse or psychotic disorders (37.2 and 25%). In contrast, patients with mood disorders usually retained their decisional capacity (32%). Generally, the primary treatment team's assessment was accurate and was confirmed by the psychiatric service.
Significance of results:
Although decisional capacity assessments were most commonly requested for patients with substance abuse and cognitive disorders, the latter generally affected the ability to make healthcare decisions the most. Further, cognitive disorders were much more likely to impair the ability to make appropriate healthcare decisions than substance abuse or psychotic disorders.
The factors associated with persistent delirium, in contrast to resolved delirium, have not been studied well. The aim of our present study was to identify the factors associated with delirium resolution as measured by the Memorial Delirium Assessment Scale (MDAS) and functional improvement as measured by the Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) scale.
All subjects were recruited from psychiatric referrals at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). The two study instruments were performed at baseline (T1), at 2–3 days (T2), and at 4–7 days (T3). Subjects with persistent delirium were compared to those with resolved delirium in respect to sociodemographic and medical variables.
Overall, 26 out of 111 patients had persistent delirium. These patients were older, predominantly male, and had more frequently preexisting comorbid dementia. Among cancer diagnoses and stage of illness, brain cancer and terminal illness contributed to persistent delirium or late response, whereas gastrointestinal cancer was associated with resolved delirium. Among etiologies, infection responded late to delirium management, usually at one week. Furthermore, delirium was more severe in patients with persistent delirium from baseline through one week. At baseline, MDAS scores were 20.1 in persistent delirium compared to 17 to 18.8 in resolved delirium (T2 and T3), and at one week of management (T3), MDAS scores were 15.2 and 4.7 to 7.4, respectively. At one week of management, persistent delirium manifested in more severe impairment in the domains of consciousness, cognition, organization, perception, psychomotor behavior, and sleep–wake cycle. In addition, persistent delirium caused more severe functional impairment.
Significance of results:
In this delirium sample, advanced age and preexisting dementia, as well as brain cancer, terminal illness, infection, and delirium severity contributed to persistent delirium or late response, indicating a prolonged and refractory course of delirium, in addition to more severe functional impairment through one week of management.
Our aim was to examine the characteristics of delirium in the severely medically ill cancer population on the basis of sociodemographic and medical variables, delirium severity, and phenomenology, as well as severity of medical illness.
All subjects in the database were recruited from psychiatric referrals at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Sociodemographic and medical variables, as well as the Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) scale and Memorial Delirium Assessment Scale (MDAS) scores were recorded at baseline. Subsequently, these variables were analyzed with respect to the severity of the medical illness.
Out of 111 patients, 67 qualified as severely medically ill. KPS scores were 19.7 and 30.7 in less severe illness. There were no significant differences with respect to age, history of dementia, and MDAS scores. Although the severity of delirium did not differ, an increased frequency and severity of consciousness disturbance, disorientation, and inability to maintain and shift attention did exist. With respect to etiologies contributing to delirium, hypoxia and infection were commonly associated with severe illness. In contrast, corticosteroid administration was more often associated with less severe illness. There were no differences with respect to opiate administration, dehydration, and CNS disease, including brain metastasis.
Significance of Results:
Delirium in the severely medically ill cancer population has been characterized by an increased disturbance of consciousness, disorientation, and an inability to maintain and shift attention. However, the severity of illness did not predict severity of delirium. Furthermore, hypoxia and infection were etiologies more commonly associated with delirium in severe illness, whereas the administration of corticosteroids was associated with less severe illness.
The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy and side-effect profile of the typical antipsychotic haloperidol with that of the atypical antipsychotics risperidone, olanzapine, and aripiprazole in the management of delirium.
The Memorial Delirium Assessment Scale (MDAS), the Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) scale, and a side-effect rating were recorded at baseline (T1), after 2–3 days (T2), and after 4–7 days (T3). Some 21 cases were case-matched by age, preexisting dementia, and baseline MDAS scores, and subsequently analyzed.
The baseline characteristics of the medication groups were not different: The mean age of the patients ranged from 64.0 to 69.6 years, dementia was present in between 23.8 and 28.6%, and baseline MDAS scores were 19.9 (haloperidol), 18.6 (risperidone), 19.4 (olanzapine), and 18.0 (aripiprazole). The doses of medication at T3 were 5.5 mg haloperidol, 1.3 mg risperidone, 7.1 mg olanzapine, and 18.3 mg aripiprazole. Over one week, the decline in MDAS scores between medications was equal, and no differences between individual MDAS scores existed at T2 or T3. After one week, the MDAS scores were 6.8 (haloperidol), 7.1 (risperidone), 11.7 (olanzapine), and 8.3 (aripiprazole). At T2, delirium resolution occurred in 42.9–52.4% of cases and at T3 in 61.9–85.7%; no differences in assessments between medications existed. Recorded side effects were extrapyramidal symptoms (EPSs) in haloperidol- and risperidone-managed patients (19 and 4.8%, respectively) and sedation with olanzapine (28.6%).
Significance of Results:
Haloperidol, risperidone, aripiprazole, and olanzapine were equally effective in the management of delirium; however, they differed in terms of their side-effect profile. Extrapyramidal symptoms were most frequently recorded with haloperidol, and sedation occurred most frequently with olanzapine.
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