What are the risk factors for delirium tremens (DTs)?

Updated: Nov 06, 2020
  • Author: Michael James Burns, MD, FACEP, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Answer

Risk factors for DTs are inconsistent among studies [1, 2] and include the following:

  • Prior ethanol withdrawal seizures

  • History of DTs

  • Concurrent illness and more medical comorbidities

  • Daily heavy and prolonged ethanol consumption

  • Greater number of days since last drink

  • Severe withdrawal symptoms at presentation

  • Prior detoxification

  • Intense craving for alcohol

  • Older age

  • Hypokalemia

  • Thrombocytopenia

  • Elevated blood level of homocysteine

  • Presence of structural brain lesions


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