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Int J Stroke. 2007 Nov;2(4):270-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-4949.2007.00163.x.

Delirium in acute stroke: a review.

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Department of Neurology, St Elisabeth Hospital, Tilburg, The Netherlands.



Delirium is a complex neuropsychiatric syndrome characterized by disturbances of consciousness, attention, cognition, and perception. It may be the presenting feature of acute stroke, but more often it complicates the clinical course in the early stage of rehabilitation.


Risk factors for delirium are older age, pre-existing cognitive decline, metabolic disturbances, infections, and polypharmacy. Recognition of delirium in patients with stroke is important because of its association with a longer stay in the hospital, a poor functional outcome, and an increased risk of developing dementia. The diagnosis may be difficult because of the fluctuating course and the neurological deficits that are caused by the stroke. Nonpharmacological preventive measures, early identification, and additional medical intervention are the key measures in the management of delirium after stroke.


This review describes incidence, risk factors, pathophysiology, diagnostic tools, and management of delirium in patients with a recent stroke.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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