Associations Between Stroke Localization and Delirium: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2022 Mar;31(3):106270. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2021.106270. Epub 2021 Dec 23.


Objectives: Delirium is common among patients with acute stroke and associated with worse outcomes. However, it is unclear which stroke locations or types are most associated with delirium.

Materials and methods: We systematically reviewed studies of patients with acute stroke that reported stroke locations and types by delirium status. We included papers in any language, through a combined search from January 2010 to June 2021. Case studies with less than 20 patients, case-control studies, and randomized controlled trials were excluded. MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and Alois databases were searched. Pooled relative risks were calculated using bivariate random effects models or network meta-analysis. Methodological quality was assessed across 8 factors.

Results: 31 patient samples representing 8329 patients were included. Delirium was more common in patients with supratentorial lesions than infratentorial (RR [Relative Risk] 2.01, CI [Confidence Interval] 1.49-2.72); anterior circulation lesions than posterior (RR 1.41, CI 1.13-1.78); and cortical lesions than subcortical (RR 1.54, CI 1.25-1.89). Stroke side was not associated with delirium (right vs. left: RR 0.99, CI 0.77-1.28). Delirium was more common in patients with hemorrhagic strokes than ischemic (RR 1.74, CI 1.42-2.11) and patients with preexisting qualitative atrophy (RR 1.66, CI 1.21-2.27).

Conclusion: Several brain localizations and types of strokes were associated with delirium. Conclusions were in part limited by the heterogeneity of studies and broad or qualitative lesion descriptions. These results may assist in anticipating the risk of delirium in acute stroke and highlight brain networks and pathologies that may be involved in the pathophysiology of delirium.

Keywords: Delirium; Localization; Meta-analysis; Stroke; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Delirium* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • Risk
  • Stroke* / epidemiology