Introduction | Definition and Diagnostic Criteria | Epidemiology and Predisposing Factors | Clinical Features and Diagnosis | Differential Diagnosis of Delirium | High-Risk Populations | Prevention Through Early Detection, Education, and Other System Interventions | Management | Course | Conclusion | References
Delirium occurs in 10%–30% of patients on medical and surgical wards. The frequency of delirium increases with advanced age, existing brain disease (e.g., dementia of the Alzheimer's type, cerebrovascular accidents, and head trauma), and severe medical disorders (e.g., cancer, human immunodeficiency virus [HIV]) (Fick et al. 2002; Kolbeinsson and Jónsson 1993). Delirium "is a sign of impending death in 25% of cases" (Folstein et al. 1991, p. 169) and is associated with longer lengths of hospital stay (Francis et al. 1990; Inouye et al. 1998), poorer functional recovery (Murray et al. 1993), and increased risk for nursing home placement (Inouye et al. 1998).