Delirium at the end of life


| Abstract | Cite as


INTRODUCTION: Delirium is common in the last weeks of life, occurring in 26% to 44% of people with advanced cancer in hospital, and in up to 88% of people with terminal illness in the last days of life. METHODS AND OUTCOMES: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of interventions at the end of life in people with delirium caused by underlying terminal illness? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to February 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). RESULTS: We found three systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions. CONCLUSIONS: In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: artificial hydration; barbiturates; benzodiazepines; haloperidol; opioid switching; phenothiazines; and propofol.

Cite as

Keeley PW. Delirium at the end of life. Systematic review 2405. BMJ Clinical Evidence. . 2009 July. Accessed [date].

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