The overall incidence of emergence delirium is 5.3%, with a significantly greater incidence (12-13%) in children. The incidence of emergence delirium after halothane, isoflurane, sevoflurane or desflurane ranges from 2-55%. Most emergence delirium in the literature describes agitated emergence. Unless a delirium detection tool is used, it is difficult to distinguish if the agitated emergence from anesthesia was from delirium or pain or fear, etc. A research study of 400 adult patients emerging from general anesthesia in the PACU were assessed for delirium using the Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU (CAM-ICU) found rates of emergence delirium of 31% at PACU admission with rates declining to 8% by 1 hour.
^E. Card, P. Pandharipande, C. Tomes, C. Lee, J. Wood, D. Nelson, A. Graves, A. Shintani, E. W. Ely and C. Hughes (2014) Emergence from general anaesthesia and evolution of delirium signs in the post-anaesthesia care unit. Br. J. Anaesth. (2014) doi: 10.1093/bja/aeu442 First published online: December 23, 2014