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Confusion Assessment Method is the most appropriate tool to quickly detect delirium in hospitalised patients at the bedside

Statistics from



Which bedside instruments are accurate for detecting delirium in hospitalised adults?


Sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio (LR+) and negative likelihood ratio (LR−).



Systematic review

Data sources

MEDLINE (from 1950 to May 2010) and EMBASE (from 1980 to 2010). Additional articles were identified by searching the bibliographies of retrieved articles.

Study selection and analysis

Inclusion criteria were published English language studies conducted in hospitalised patients (not intensive care unit) and that included participants with and without delirium. Studies were prospectively designed and used an appropriate reference standard (DSM-III, DSM-III-R or DSM-IV) that was performed by a specialist physician (geriatrician neurologist or psychiatrist) and applied the same index test to >80% of patients. The review did not include studies of patients with mostly alcohol-related delirium or a paediatric population or studies where the index and reference tests were performed by the same individual.

Main results

Nine studies were included assessing 11 bedside instruments. The prevalence of delirium ranged from 9% to 63%, the highest in a …

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  • Source of funding Tier 2 Canada and the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.


  • Competing interests None.

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