U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Special Panel Review of Excited Delirium

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2011
50 pages
This report presents the results of a meeting convened to examine the problem of Excited Delirium Syndrome.

This report examines the phenomenon of Excited Delirium Syndrome (ExDS) which has been found to be associated with police use-of-force situations in general and the use of conducted energy devices (CEDs) in particular. There is currently no specific definition of ExDS, and some researchers maintain that the phenomenon does not exist at all. To examine this problem and possible interventions, a special panel was convened by the Weapons and Protective Systems Technologies Center (WPSTC). The meeting had three primary objectives: 1) assess the current body of knowledge regarding the phenomenon of ExDS; 2) determine whether or not existing protocols appear to mitigate the problem; and 3) identify the research questions that might remain. Panel members note that law enforcement and medical authorities both agree that the phenomenon exists, but no consensus has been reached on how to categorize it or what it should be labeled. While current protocols used to deal with ExDS appear to prevent fatalities, there is uncertainty as to whether they will prevent or reduce lawsuits resulting from police use-of-force in suspects with ExDS. These protocols include clear identification of ExDS cases based on common signs and symptoms, rapid control of the individual, sedation by emergency medical personnel immediately after the person is under control by police, and transport of the individual to a medical facility for treatment. The panel also identified long range goals for developing a set of interventions dealing with ExDS. The interventions should reduce the likelihood of sudden and unexpected in-custody deaths resulting from use of CEDs in ExDS situations, should not be harmful in any situation, and should identify and qualify the risks associated with the interventions. Table and appendix

Date Published: December 1, 2011