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Excited Delirium

  • Author(s): Takeuchi, Asia
  • Ahern, Terence L
  • Henderson, Sean O
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Public License
Abstract

Excited (or agitated) delirium is characterized by agitation, aggression, acute distress and sudden death, often in the pre-hospital care setting. It is typically associated with the use of drugs that alter dopamine processing, hyperthermia, and, most notably, sometimes with death of the affected person in the custody of law enforcement. Subjects typically die from cardiopulmonary arrest, although the cause is debated. Unfortunately an adequate treatment plan has yet to be established, in part due to the fact that most patients die before hospital arrival. While there is still much to be discovered about the pathophysiology and treatment, it is hoped that this extensive review will provide both police and medical personnel with the information necessary to recognize and respond appropriately to excited delirium. [West J Emerg Med. 2011;12(1):77-83.]

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