Emergence is defined as the transition from the sleep state to full consciousness. Emergence from general anesthesia usually is a smooth and uneventful transition through the 4 stages of anesthesia (Table 1). Although uncommon (<10% of surgical cases), delirium may arise during emergence from anesthesia.1 Critical care nurses working in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU) should be aware that emergence delirium may occur after all types of anesthetic techniques. The focus of this article is delirium after anesthesia.2 The case study deals specifically with the unusual behavior of a patient who received intravenous sedatives, not a general anesthetic, for plastic surgery.

Emergence delirium occurs most often in elderly patients and patients with psychiatric conditions such as depression or drug dependency. It may be associated with clinical conditions such as organic brain disease or with the medications...

You do not currently have access to this content.