Delirium is an acute disorder of attention and cognition in elderly people (ie, those aged 65 years or older). It is common, serious, costly, under-recognised, and often fatal.
A formal cognitive assessment and history of acute onset of symptoms are necessary for diagnosis.
In view of the complex multifactorial causes of delirium, multicomponent non-pharmacological risk factor approaches are the most effective strategy for prevention.
No convincing evidence shows that pharmacological prevention or treatment is effective.
Drug reduction for sedation and analgesia and non-pharmacological approaches are recommended.
Delirium offers opportunities to elucidate brain pathophysiology — it serves both as a marker of brain vulnerability with decreased reserve and as a potential mechanism for permanent cognitive damage.
Delirium in elderly people - The Lancet http://bit.ly/1hfK73h
Image source: Hippocampus, from Wikipedia, public domain.