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Predictors for delirium tremens in alcohol dependency

A simple assessment uses past history of delirium tremens and the pulse rate to identify patients at a high risk of delirium tremens during an alcohol dependence period, finds the latest Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

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Dr Myoung Kuk Jang and colleagues investigated clinical predictors for developing delirium tremens in alcohol dependence.

The researchers conducted a retrospective study among patients who were diagnosed as having alcohol dependence between 2001 and 2004.

The research team compared 15 parameters between patients who developed delirium tremens and ones who did not.

We identified clinical predictors for delirium tremens by using multivariate analysis.

A total of 178 consecutive admission cases from 147 patients were analyzed.

The mean age of the patients was 48 years, and 96% were male.

The team found that delirium tremens developed in 33% during hospitalization.

1 predictor was present, delirium tremens developed in 46%
Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

On multiple logistic regression analysis, a previous history of delirium tremens was a significant predictor for developing delirium tremens.

A high pulse rate above 100 beats per minute was also a significant predictor for developing delirium tremens.

When combined, delirium tremens developed in just 20% of cases without any predictors.

However, if 1 predictor was present, delirium tremens developed in 46%, and if 2 predictors were present, delirium tremens developed in all cases.

Dr Kuk Jang's team concluded, “A simple assessment can allow physicians to readily identify the patients who are at a high risk of developing delirium tremens during an alcohol dependence period.”

“The assessment uses past history of delirium tremens and the pulse rate, which may be easily evaluated in clinical settings.”

“More intensive therapies can be reserved for the selected cases.”

J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2005: 20(12): 1833
16 November 2005

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