ISSN : 2146-3123
E-ISSN : 2146-3131

Evaluation of Patients with Delirium in the Emergency Department
Latif Duran 1, Dursun Aygün 1
1Department of Emergency Emergency Medicine, Ondokuz Mayıs University, Samsun, Turkey
DOI : 10.5152/balkanmedj.2012.023
Pages : 381-385


Objective: Delirium is a neuropsychiatric syndrome characterized by acute onset and a fluctuating course of globally altered mental status. It has been reported that the frequency of delirium among patients hospitalized with any disorder ranges from 2 to 30%. However, in the literature, few studies have evaluated the frequency of delirium in hospitalized patients, including those older than 65 years. According to our knowledge, this is the first study on adult patients in all age groups in an emergency department. We aimed to classify delirium according to its etiological causes and to compare the age groups for frequency and these causes.

Material and Methods: Forty-three patients were included in the study; they had been diagnosed with delirium according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-IV in an emergency department from December 2002 to December 2003. The patients were divided into two groups (group I: age <65 years, group II: age ≥65 years). Following a detailed history, each patient underwent a physical and neurological examination. Additionally, the Mini-Mental State Examination was administered. Radiological and hematological examinations were conducted on all patients who had indications for such testing.

Results: Of the patients with delirium, 18 were female and 25 were male. Mean age was 61.18 years (range 18 to 90 years). Of the 43 patients, 21 were in group I and 22 were in group II. The most common causes of delirium were metabolic disorders. There was no significant difference between group I and II for the frequency or etiological causes of delirium.

Conclusion: In emergency departments, all patients with delirium should be evaluated for etiological factors, especially metabolic disorders, as treatment of the underlying cause is essential in delirium.

Keywords : Emergency department, delirium, etiology, age groups

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