Impact of delirium on short-term mortality in elderly inpatients: a prospective cohort study

Psychosomatics. May-Jun 2009;50(3):234-8. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.50.3.234.


Background: Delirium is an important problem especially in older medical inpatients.

Objective: The authors asked whether delirium and its duration are associated with higher mortality in a 3-month follow-up period.

Method: In this prospective cohort study, inpatients age 65 and older were assessed every 48 hours with the Confusion Assessment Method.

Results: Of 542 patients enrolled, 192 (35.4%) developed delirium. After 3 months, mortality in the delirium cohort was 25.9%, and in the nondelirium cohort was 5.8%. Delirium was independently associated with mortality, and increased by 11% for every 48 hours of delirium.

Conclusion: Delirium and increased delirium durations are significantly associated with higher mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chile
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delirium / diagnosis
  • Delirium / mortality*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Referral and Consultation