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The European Journal of Psychiatry

versión impresa ISSN 0213-6163


GONZALEZ, Matías et al. Delirium: A predictor of mortality in the elderly. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2005, vol.19, n.3, pp.165-171. ISSN 0213-6163.

The frequency of delirium in elderly inpatients is high, resulting in poor hospital outcomes. The objective of this study is to assess whether delirium is an independent predictor for mortality over a three-month period. Methods: Prospective, observational study in a cohort of 171 inpatients aged over 65 years. Presence of delirium and/or dementia, severity of delirium and incapacity due to illness were assessed at baseline using DSM-IV diagnostic criteria, the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM), the MMSE, the Delirium Rating Scale (DRS) and the Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS). Mortality rates were evaluated over a three-month follow-up period after enrollment. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were constructed and the adjusted effect of a set of covariates was evaluated with the Cox multiple regression analysis. Results: By 3 months after enrollment, 34.4% of the patients with delirium died, compared with 16.5% of those without delirium. The survival analysis shows a statistically significant difference between the two groups (log-rank=11.92; d.f.=1; P=0.0006). After adjustment for covariates, delirium was found to be independently associated with higher mortality. Conclusions: Delirium was found to be an independent marker for mortality in older medical patients over a three-month follow-up.

Palabras clave : Delirium; Mortality.

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