J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2004 Dec;8(2):96-101.

Clinical Approach to Delirium in Elderly Patients

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Nosong Jeonju Hospital, Jeonju, Korea. mihan49@hanmail.net


Delirium is not uncommon and is a devastating clinical syndrome. Elderly patients are vulnerable to delirium, especially demented or/and medically-surgically ill patients. Old age, comorbid psychiatric, medical and/or neurological diseases, medications, changed pharmacodynamics, sensory impairment and psychosocial stresses contribute to the development of delirium. Delirium in elderly patients is somewhat different from delirium in younger patients, sometimes under detected and/or poorly managed. This review discusses the diagnosis, classification, etiology and treatment, and presents 3 clinical cases of delirium in elderly patients. This review also focuses on a practical approach in assessing and managing delirium in elderly patients. The management of delirium consists of identifying and correcting the underlying problems, including prescribing suitable medication.


Delirium; Elderly; Geriatric psychiatry
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