Background: Delirium is characterized by acute cognitive impairment. We examined the association of delirium with long-term cognitive trajectories in older adults with Alzheimer disease (AD).
Methods: We evaluated prospectively collected data from a nested cohort of hospitalized patients with AD (n = 263) in the Massachusetts Alzheimer Disease Research Center patient registry between January 1, 1991, and June 30, 2006 (median follow-up duration, 3.2 years). Cognitive function was measured using the information-memory-concentration (IMC) section of the Blessed Dementia Rating Scale. Delirium was identified using a validated medical record review method. The rate of cognitive deterioration was contrasted using random-effects regression models.
Results: Fifty-six percent of patients with AD developed delirium during hospitalization. The rate of cognitive deterioration before hospitalization did not differ significantly between patients who developed delirium (1.4 [95% CI, 0.7-2.1] IMC points per year) and patients who did not develop delirium (0.8 [95% CI, 0.3-1.3] IMC points per year) (P = .24). After adjusting for dementia severity, comorbidity, and demographic characteristics, patients who had developed delirium experienced greater cognitive deterioration in the year following hospitalization (3.1 [95% CI, 2.1-4.1] IMC points per year) relative to patients who had not developed delirium (1.4 [95% CI, 0.2-2.6] IMC points per year). The ratio of these changes suggests that cognitive deterioration following delirium proceeds at twice the rate in the year after hospitalization compared with patients who did not develop delirium. Patients who had developed delirium maintained a more rapid rate of cognitive deterioration throughout a 5-year period following hospitalization. Sensitivity analyses that excluded rehospitalized patients and included matching on baseline cognitive function and baseline rate of cognitive deterioration produced essentially identical results.
Conclusions: Delirium is highly prevalent among persons with AD who are hospitalized and is associated with an increased rate of cognitive deterioration that is maintained for up to 5 years. Strategies to prevent delirium may represent a promising avenue to explore for ameliorating cognitive deterioration in AD.
Thank you for submitting a comment on this article. It will be reviewed by JAMA Neurology 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: 2
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.