Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 13, Issue 9, pp 621–623

Diagnosing delirium by telephone

  • Edward R. Marcantonio
  • Mary Michaels
  • Neil M. Resnick
Brief Reports

DOI: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.1998.00185.x

Cite this article as:
Marcantonio, E.R., Michaels, M. & Resnick, N.M. J GEN INTERN MED (1998) 13: 621. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.1998.00185.x

Abstract

To determine whether delirium can be diagnosed by telephone, we interviewed 41 subjects aged 65 years or older 1 month after repair of hip fracture, first by telephone and then face-to-face. Interviews included the modified telephone Mini-Mental State Examination and the Delirium Symptom Interview. Delirium was diagnosed using the Confusion Assessment Method diagnostic algorithm, and the telephone results were compared with the face-to-face results (the “gold standard”). Of 41 subjects, 6 were delirious by face-to-face assessment; all 6 were delirious by telephone (sensitivity 1.00). Of 35 patients not delirious by face-to-face assessment, 33 patients were not delirious by telephone (specificity=0.94). We conclude that telephone interviews can effectively rule out delirium, but the positive diagnosis should be confirmed by a face-to-face assessment, especially in populations with a low prevalence of delirium.

Key words

delirium telephone diagnosis Confusion Assessment Method 

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward R. Marcantonio
    • 1
  • Mary Michaels
    • 1
  • Neil M. Resnick
    • 1
  1. 1.Received from the Sections for Clinical Epidemiology and Gerontology, Division of General MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBoston
  2. 2.Department of Medicine and Research and Training InstituteHebrew Rehabilitation Center for AgedBoston

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