Risk factors for delirium in acutely admitted elderly patients: a prospective cohort study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Delirium is a neuropsychiatric syndrome frequently observed in elderly hospitalised patients and can be found in any medical condition. Due to the severe consequences, early recognition of delirium is important in order to start treatment in time. Despite the high incidence rate, the occurrence of delirium is not always identified as such. Knowledge of potential risk factors is important. The aim of the current study is to determine factors associated with the occurrence of a prevalent delirium among elderly patients acutely admitted to an internal medicine ward.

METHODS: All consecutive patients of 65 years and over acutely admitted to the Department of Internal Medicine of the Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, a university hospital, were asked to participate. The presence of delirium was determined within 48 hrs after admission by an experienced geriatrician.

RESULTS: In total, 126 patients were included, 29% had a prevalent delirium after acute admission. Compared to patients without delirium, patients with delirium were older, more often were cognitively and physically impaired, more often were admitted due to water and electrolyte disturbances, and were less often admitted due to malignancy or gastrointestinal bleeding. Independent risk factors for having a prevalent delirium after acute admission were premorbid cognitive impairment, functional impairment, an elevated urea nitrogen level, and the number of leucocytes.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, the most important independent risk factors for a prevalent delirium after acute admission were cognitive and physical impairment, and a high serum urea nitrogen concentration. These observations might contribute to an earlier identification and treatment of delirium in acutely admitted elderly patients.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13-Apr-2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Delirium
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Admission
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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