Delirium

S TURNER, S LEWIS

The concept of delirium has been with us for over 2000 years. Greek physicians, such as Hippocrates, described its essential features1 and the Roman writer Celsus distinguished it from mania and depression.2 Galen differentiated between primary (idiopathic) and secondary (symptomatic) forms.3

Delirium is common in the hospital setting.4 It often goes undiagnosed in its early stages5 and may present as a neurological emergency. If untreated, it is associated with a high mortality.6

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