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Clinical Approach to Confusion and Delirium in the Elderly
Korean J Clin Geri 2014 Jun;15(1):1-8
Published online June 30, 2014;
Copyright © 2014 The Korean Academy of Clinical Geriatrics.

Dong-Kuck Lee

Department of Neurology, Catholic University of Daegu School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea
Received February 17, 2014; Revised April 9, 2014; Accepted May 16, 2014.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Confusion and delirium are a common, life-threatening and potentially preventable clinical syndrome among persons who are 65 years of age or older. These syndromes are the most common behavioral disorders seen in an acute medical or surgical unit. Confusion can be regarded as a mild form of delirium and may give warning of the development of the more severe disorder. It causes an acute change of mental status, characterized by abnormal and fluctuating attention. It affects between 10∼30% of medically ill patients, especially the elderly and often shortly after admission to hospital. It causes prolonged admission, increased morbidity and mortality, and delayed discharge, often culminating in long-term care. The etiologies of confusion and delirium are diverse and multifactorial and often reflect the pathophysiological consequences of an acute medical illness, medical complication or drug intoxication. These syndromes can have a widely variable presentation, and is often missed and underdiagnosed as a result. At present, the diagnosis of these syndromes are clinically based and depends on the presence or absence of certain features. Management strategies are focused on the prevention and symptom management.
Keywords : Confusion, Delirium, Elderly
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