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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2009 Jan-Feb;31(1):25-9. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2008.06.001. Epub 2008 Jul 23.

Prevalence and clinical profile of delirium: a study from a tertiary-care hospital in north India.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh 160012, India.



There is scarcity of data from the Indian subcontinent in terms of rates of psychiatric referrals and prevalence of delirium in the medico-surgical setting.


The present research aimed to study the rates of psychiatric referrals, clinical profile and treatment of delirium in a tertiary-care hospital.


The referral register in the department of psychiatry (which records all referrals to the Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Team) was used to obtain data of all referred patients who had been diagnosed to have delirium while they were admitted in the Nehru Hospital, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, during the period 2000-2005.


Over 6 years, 3092 patients/referrals were received from different wards and included 1050 who were diagnosed as having delirium. The psychiatric referral rate ranged from 0.92% to 1.56% (mean=1.3%) per year; delirium formed the largest diagnostic category (30.77% to 38.95% of all referred cases). The prevalence of delirium in all inpatients ranged from 0.28% to 0.53% (mean=0.44%), with prevalence being higher in the elderly. In 80% of the cases, the referral was for abnormal behavior or patient's noncooperation for treatment. Most of the cases improved with treatment.


Delirium forms the largest diagnostic category in psychiatry referrals and improves with treatment.

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