Delirium is an acute mental disorder with organic etiology. Any situation that alters the brain metabolism can precipitate this condition, very common among hospitalized patients. The development of delirium starts a cascade of events that may determine independency loss, higher morbidity and mortality rates, longer hospital stays and increased additional costs after discharge. It is a potentially preventable syndrome but not properly recognized and thereby underdiagnosed.
The present article intends to summarize the diagnosis and treatment of delirium in the elderly.