Delirium occurs commonly among older hospitalized patients and is frequently not recognized. In an effort to identify tools useful to clinicians in the diagnosis of delirium, test characteristics of four screening instruments were compared.
Patients 65 years of age or older who were admitted to one of four medical and surgical wards of a university teaching hospital were followed up prospectively. Potential subjects were excluded if unavailable for interviews or discharged within 48 hours of admission, or if judged too impaired to participate in the daily interviews. Research assistants administered four instruments used to detect delirium: Digit Span Test, Vigilance 'A' Test, Clinical Assessment of Confusion, and Confusion Assessment Method. Abnormal scores on these tests or suspicion of acute confusion prompted a referral to the clinician-investigators who then assessed the patient daily for delirium based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disor-ders, Revised Third Edition criteria.
Delirium occurred in 64 (14.8%) of 432 subjects. The positive likelihood ratios for all of the instruments were significantly more than 1. The instruments remained useful when applied to selected subgroups: subjects in whom acute mental status changes were documented, subjects on surgical services, and subjects with impaired cognitive status on admission. Combinations of any two instruments did not perform substantially better than the instrument with the best test characteristics: the Clinical Assessment of Confusion. All instruments were more useful at confirming delirium than in excluding it.
The four instruments studied, which are suitable for use at the bedside, can aid the clinician in identifying patients likely to be suffering from delirium.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:301-307)
Thank you for submitting a comment on this article. It will be reviewed by JAMA Internal Medicine editors. You will be notified when your comment has been published. Comments should not exceed 500 words of text and 10 references.
Do not submit personal medical questions or information that could identify a specific patient, questions about a particular case, or general inquiries to an author. Only content that has not been published, posted, or submitted elsewhere should be submitted. By submitting this Comment, you and any coauthors transfer copyright to the journal if your Comment is posted.
* = Required Field
Disclosure of Any Conflicts of Interest*
Indicate all relevant conflicts of interest of each author below, including all relevant financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including, but not limited to, employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speakers’ bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued. If all authors have none, check "No potential conflicts or relevant financial interests" in the box below. Please also indicate any funding received in support of this work. The information will be posted with your response.
Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.
Download citation file:
Web of Science® Times Cited: 53
Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.
More Listings atJAMACareerCenter.com >
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a link to reset your password.
Enter your username and email address. We'll send instructions on how to reset your password to the email address we have on record.
Athens and Shibboleth are access management services that provide single sign-on to protected resources. They replace the multiple user names and passwords necessary to access subscription-based content with a single user name and password that can be entered once per session. It operates independently of a user's location or IP address. If your institution uses Athens or Shibboleth authentication, please contact your site administrator to receive your user name and password.