Translated title of the contribution: Delirium in the elderly - A review

W. Hewer, H. Forstl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Delirium - a state of acute or subacute confusion - is a common organic mental syndrome occurring predominantly in old age. The disorder is highly prevalent in psychiatric institutions, in general hospitals and nursing homes. Patients affected by delirium carry an increased mortality-risk and will become dependent on nursing care in a high percentage. In this paper, diagnostic criteria, symptomatology, and pathogenesis of delirious states are reviewed. The wide variety of etiologic factors is illustrated by case histories. The present state of diagnostic and therapeutic management is discussed. A review of recent publications indicates that substantial advances in knowledge on epidemiology, operationalized diagnosis, risk factors, and course of delirium have been attained. There are, however, important aspects - e.g. the evaluation of prophylactic and therapeutic measures - which have been neglected. With regard to the high prevalence of delirium and the inderdisciplinary relevance of this syndrome scientific activities on this field should be increased as well as refreshment of knowledge of medical and nursing staff should be aimed at.

Translated title of the contributionDelirium in the elderly - A review
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatrische Praxis
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


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