On the utility of diagnostic instruments for pediatric delirium in critical illness: an evaluation of the Pediatric Anesthesia Emergence Delirium Scale, the Delirium Rating Scale 88, and the Delirium Rating Scale-Revised R-98

Nathalie J. J. F. Janssen, Eva Y. L. Tan, Marian Staal, Eveline P. C. J. Janssen, Piet L. J. M. Leroy, Richel Lousberg, Jim van Os, Jan N. M. Schieveld*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

57 Citations (Web of Science)


Delirium is a poor-prognosis neuropsychiatric disorder. Pediatric delirium (PD) remains understudied, particularly at pediatric intensive care units (PICU). Although the Pediatric Anesthesia Emergence Delirium (PAED) scale, the Delirium Rating Scale (DRS-88), and the Delirium Rating Scale-Revised (DRS-R-98) are available, none have been validated for use in PICU settings. The aim of the present study was to investigate the use of the DRS/PAED instruments as diagnostic tools for PD in the PICU. A prospective panel study was conducted, under circumstances of routine clinical care, investigating the diagnostic properties of the PAED, DRS-88, and DRS-R-98 in PICU patients at a tertiary university medical center. A total of 182 non-electively admitted, critically ill pediatric patients, aged 1-17 years, were included between November 2006 and February 2010. Sensitivity, specificity, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were calculated. Three psychometric properties were analyzed: (1) internal consistency (2) proportion of items not rateable, and (3) discriminative ability. The PAED could be completed in 144 (93.5%) patients, much more frequently than either the DRS-88 (66.9%) or the DRS-R-98 (46.8%). Compared with the clinical gold standard diagnosis of delirium, the PAED had a sensitivity of 91% and a specificity of 98% (AUC 0.99). The optimal PAED cutoff score as a screening instrument in this PICU setting was 8. Cronbach's alpha was 0.89; discriminative ability was high. The PAED is a valid instrument for PD in critically ill children, given its reliance on routinely rateable observational signs and symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1331-1337
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Delirium
  • Pediatric intensive care units
  • Critical illness
  • Instrumentation

Cite this