Pediatric delirium: Evaluating the gold standard

Gabrielle Silver*, Julia Kearney, Chani Traube, Thomas M. Atkinson, Katarzyna E. Wyka, John Walkup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: Our aim was to evaluate interrater reliability for the diagnosis of pediatric delirium by child psychiatrists. Method: Critically ill patients (N = 17), 0-21 years old, including 7 infants, 5 children with developmental delay, and 7 intubated children, were assessed for delirium using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV) (comparable to DSM-V) criteria. Delirium assessments were completed by two psychiatrists, each blinded to the other's diagnosis, and interrater reliability was measured using Cohen's κ coefficient along with its 95% confidence interval. Results: Interrater reliability for the psychiatric assessment was high (Cohen's κ = 0.94, CI [0.83, 1.00]). Delirium diagnosis showed excellent interrater reliability regardless of age, developmental delay, or intubation status (Cohen's κ range 0.81-1.00). Significance of results: In our study cohort, the psychiatric interview and exam, long considered the gold standard in the diagnosis of delirium, was highly reliable, even in extremely young, critically ill, and developmentally delayed children. A developmental approach to diagnosing delirium in this challenging population is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-516
Number of pages4
JournalPalliative and Supportive Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 13 2013


  • Child psychiatry
  • Delirium
  • Pediatric critical care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • General Nursing


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