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BET 1: Excited delirium syndrome and sudden death


A short-cut review was carried out to establish whether morbidity and mortality from excited delirium syndrome (EXDS) can be predicted in the emergency department (ED). Seventy-three papers were found of which 11 presented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The author, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes, results and study weaknesses of these best papers are shown in table 1. The clinical bottom line is that the early recognition of EXDS remains paramount as patients may have sudden cardiovascular collapse with little warning. Several authors do describe laboured respiratory efforts before death, so prompt airway and haemodynamic control may be necessary. Patients may benefit from chemical rather than physical restraint. Acidosis and hyperthermia should also be aggressively managed. Law enforcement and prehospital personnel should also be educated regarding potential complications of EXDS.

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