Confusion epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aditya Govindavarjhulla, M.B.B.S. [2]


Nearly 30% of older patients admitted for medical conditions are confused at some point of time during their stay at the hospital.[1] In surgical wards the probability of confusion ranges from 10-50%.[2] Increasing rates are seen in patients admitted to intensive care units and in hospice care. There is no significant difference in the distribution based upon gender or race.

Epidemiology and Demographics


Increasing age is associated with an increased risk of confusion. This in part due to the increased risk of stroke associated with older age as well as an increased risk of metabolic disorders as well as side effects from drugs.


In general, there is no association of gender with confusion, although a few studies demonstrate an association of male gender with confusion.[3]


Race is not associated with confusion.


  1. Francis J (1992). "Delirium in older patients". J Am Geriatr Soc. 40 (8): 829–38. PMID 1634729. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  2. Dyer CB, Ashton CM, Teasdale TA (1995). "Postoperative delirium. A review of 80 primary data-collection studies". Arch. Intern. Med. 155 (5): 461–5. PMID 7864702. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. Edlund A, Lundström M, Karlsson S, Brännström B, Bucht G, Gustafson Y (2006). "Delirium in older patients admitted to general internal medicine". J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 19 (2): 83–90. doi:10.1177/0891988706286509. PMID 16690993. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

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