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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1989 Feb;37(2):150-4.

Acute confusion in elderly medical patients.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Abstract

The acute confusional state (delirium) is a common presentation for a wide variety of medical conditions in the elderly. This paper reports a prospective study of acute confusion in elderly people admitted to general medical services in two acute care hospitals in Edmonton, Alberta. Eighty patients were studied, ranging in age from 65-91. Acute confusion was seen in one-fourth of these patients, who tended to be older, more ill, more likely to have chronic cognitive impairment and a higher mortality rate. In patients admitted with confusion, infection and congestive heart failure predominated. In those who developed confusion after hospitalization, iatrogenic disease was more common. Confusion was a sensitive sign of physical illness, and its resolution accompanied recovery. A diagnosis of the cause of the confusion state could be made in 22 of 24 cases. These findings support the aggressive investigation and treatment of acute confusion in the elderly.

PMID:
2910973
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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