Essential Readings

General reviews and education

Reviews of pathophysiology and biomarkers

Intervention trials

Seminal RCT of non-pharm interventions to prevent delirium: positive

RCT of dexmedetomidine vs lorazepam in ventilated ICU patients: dex superior

RCT of ABC on critical care outcomes: positive

RCT of dexmedetomidine vs midazolam in ventilated ICU patients: dex superior

Placebo-controlled RCT of adjunctive rivastigmine added to haloperidol: halted for safety concerns

Placebo-controlled RCT of haloperidol for ventilated ICU patients: negative

Placebo-controlled RCT of risperidone & haloperidol for delirium symptoms in palliative care: negative

RCT of single intraoperative dose of ketamine on postop delirium & pain: negative

Placebo-controlled RCT of haloperidol on ICU survival: no association found

Placebo-controlled RCT of haloperidol & ziprasidone for ICU delirium: negative

Prospective study of A-to-F bundle adherence on ICU outcomes (n = 15,226): positive

RCT of EEG-guided anesthesia on postop delirium: negative

4-arm RCT (acetaminophen vs placebo; propofol vs dexmedetomidine) on post-cardiotomy delirium: positive for acetaminophen

RCT of dexmedetomidine vs propofol for sedation in ventilated ICU patients: no clear superiority

Reviews of interventions

Key validation studies

Natural history studies

Key findings

Research agenda

Best practice standards and core outcome sets

Statements and ADS-sponsored publications

Classic papers


  • Lipowski ZJ. Delirium: Acute Brain Failure in Man. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas; 1980.
  • Lipowski ZJ. Delirium: Acute Confusional States. New York: Oxford University Press; 1990.
  • Caraceni A, Grassi L. Delirium: Acute Confusional States in Palliative Medicine: OUP Oxford; 2011.
  • Page VJ, Ely EW. Delirium in Critical Care: Cambridge University Press; 2015.
  • Isik AT, Grossberg GT. Delirium in Elderly Patients: Springer International Publishing; 2017.
  • Bourgeois JA. Delirium: Prevention, Symptoms and Treatment: Nova Science Publishers, Incorporated; 2017.
  • Hughes CG, Pandharipande PP, Ely EW. Delirium: Acute Brain Dysfunction in the Critically Ill: Springer International Publishing; 2020.
  • Rahman S. Essentials of Delirium: Everything You Really Need to Know for Working in Delirium Care: Jessica Kingsley Publishers; 2020.

Guidelines (last decade)