What are the risk factors for delirium?

Updated: Apr 25, 2019
  • Author: Kannayiram Alagiakrishnan, MD, MBBS, MPH, MHA; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

Although numerous risk factors have been described, a recent study identified 5 important independent risk factors.

  • Use of physical restraints

  • Malnutrition

  • Use of a bladder catheter

  • Any iatrogenic event

  • Use of 3 or more medications

Dementia is one of the strongest most consistent risk factors. Underlying dementia is observed in 25-50% of patients. The presence of dementia increases the risk of delirium 2-3 times. Low educational level, which may be an indicator of low cognitive reserve, is associated with increased vulnerability to delirium.

Dysphoric mood and hopelessness are also risk factors for incident delirium.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!