Pathogenesis of Delirium



Delirium is a complex syndrome defined as an acute, fluctuating syndrome of altered attention, awareness, and cognition. Delirium is common in the elderly, but unfortunately underdiagnosed. The consequences could be significant such as an increase in mortality, hospitalization, loss of autonomy, and increased risk to be institutionalized. The predisposing and precipitating factors are well known, but the pathogenesis is not yet identified clearly. However, evidence that delirium is a neurotoxic factor which develops due primarily to neurotransmitter (cholinergic insufficiency) and inflammatory (increase in stress response/neuroinflammation) mechanisms is increasing each passing day. In addition, changes in neuronal injury and permeability of blood-brain barrier, impairment in sleep pattern, genetic, and drugs may play a role in the development of delirium.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geriatric CenterKayseri Education and Training HospitalKayseriTurkey
  2. 2.Unit for Aging Brain and Dementia, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Faculty of MedicineDokuz Eylul UniversityIzmirTurkey

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