Two questions to detect delirium in seconds

New York, Sep 16 (IANS) Asking just two questions may be able to help nurses and doctors quickly and easily identify delirium, a cognitive condition that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of your environment, says a study.

The condition can be resolved if caught and treated early.

“Delirium can be very costly and deadly — and with high-risk patients, time matters,” said Donna Fick, professor at Pennsylvania State University.

“Our ultra-brief two-item bedside test for delirium takes an average of 36 seconds to perform and has a sensitivity of 93 percent,” Fick noted.

The researchers were able to find two questions that proved to have a 93 percent sensitivity in identifying delirium: patients were asked what day of the week it was and to recite the months of the year backwards.

Failure to answer these two questions correctly indicated delirium, the study found.

Of the 201 participants tested in this study, 42 were clinically diagnosed with delirium.

The two-item test identified 48 as possibly delirious — 42 were identified correctly, with six false positives.

“These results still need to be validated, with a very large sample,” said Fick, before the test can be recommended for everyday use.

The findings were reported online in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

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