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Template:Merge The CIWA (Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment)[1][2][3]is a common measure used in North American hospitals to assess and treat Alcohol withdrawal syndrome and for Alcohol detoxification. This clinical tool assesses 10 common withdrawal signs. A score of more than 15 points is associated with increased risk of alcohol withdrawal effects such as confusion or seizures.

Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol (CIWA-Ar) scale

Scoring

The cumulative score provides the basis for treatment of patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal.

Cumulative Score
0-7 No medication is necessary
8-14 Medication is optional for patients with a score of 8–14
15-20 A score of 15 or over requires treatment with medication
>20 A score of over 20 poses a strong risk of Delirium tremens
67 Maximum possible cumulative score

Assessment Tool

Nausea and Vomiting

Ask: "Do you feel sick to your stomach? Have you vomited?"

Score
0 no nausea and no vomiting
1 mild nausea with no vomiting
2
3
4 intermittent nausea with dry heaves
5
6
7 constant nausea, frequent dry heaves and vomiting

Tremor

Arms extended and fingers spread apart

Score
0 no tremor
1 not visible, but can be felt fingertip to fingertip
2
3
4 moderate, with patient’s arms extended
5
6
7 severe, even with arms not extended

Paroxysmal Sweats

Score
0 no sweat visible
1 barely perceptible sweating, palms moist
2
3
4 beads of sweat obvious on forehead
5
6
7 drenching sweats

Anxiety

Ask: "Do you feel nervous?"

Score
0 no anxiety, at ease
1 mildly anxious
2
3
4 moderately anxious, or guarded, so anxiety is inferred
5
6
7 equivalent to acute panic states as seen in severe delirium or acute schizophrenic reactions

Agitation

Score
0 normal activity
1 somewhat more than normal activity
2
3
4 moderately fidgety and restless
5
6
7 paces back and forth during most of the interview, or constantly thrashes about

Tactile Disturbances

Ask: "Have you any itching, pins and needles sensations, burning sensations, numbness or do you feel bugs crawling on or under your skin?"

Score
0 none
1 very mild itching, pins and needles, burning or numbness
2 mild itching, pins and needles, burning or numbness
3 moderate itching, pins and needles, burning or numbness
4 moderately severe hallucinations
5 severe hallucinations
6 extremely severe hallucinations
7 continuous hallucinations

Auditory Disturbances

Ask: "Are you more aware of sounds around you? Are they harsh? Do they frighten you? Are you hearing anything that is disturbing to you? Are you hearing things you know are not there?"

Score
0 not present
1 very mild harshness or ability to frighten
2 mild harshness or ability to frighten
3 moderate harshness or ability to frighten
4 moderately severe hallucinations
5 severe hallucinations
6 extremely severe hallucinations
7 continuous hallucinations

Visual Disturbances

Ask: "Does the light appear to be too bright? Is its colour different? Does it hurt your eyes? Are you seeing anything that is disturbing to you? Are you seeing things you know are not there?"

Score
0 not present
1 very mild sensitivity
2 mild sensitivity
3 moderate sensitivity
4 moderately severe hallucinations
5 severe hallucinations
6 extremely severe hallucinations
7 continuous hallucinations

Headache, Fullness in Head

Ask: "Does your head feel different? Does it feel as if there is a band around your head?" Do not rate for dizziness or lightheadedness. Otherwise, rate severity.

Score
0 not present
1 very mild
2 mild
3 moderate
4 moderately severe
5 severe
6 very severe
7 extremely severe

Orientation and Clouding of Sensorium

Ask: "What day is this? Where are you? Who am I?"

Score
0 oriented and can do serial additions
1 cannot do serial additions or is uncertain about date
2 disoriented for date by no more than 2 calendar days
3 disoriented for date by more than 2 calendar days
4 disoriented for place and/or person

References

  1. Sullivan, J.T.; Sykora, K.; Schneiderman, J.; Naranjo, C.A.; and Sellers, E.M. (1989). "Assessment of alcohol withdrawal: The revised Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol scale (CIWA-Ar).". British Journal of Addiction 84 (11): 1373–1357. PMID 2597811.
  2. Teaching Module:Managing alcohol withdrawal with CIWA-Ar
  3. CIWA-AR at clinicaltools.com

Purchase the CIWA-Ar CD-ROM (Managing Alcohol withdrawal with CIWA-Ar)

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