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OBJECTIVES: Few studies have analyzed factors associated with delirium subtypes. In this study, we investigate factors associated with subtypes of delirium only in patients with dementia to provide insights on the possible prevention and treatments. DESIGN: This is a cross-sectional study nested in the "Delirium Day" study, a nationwide Italian point-prevalence study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Older patients admitted to 205 acute and 92 rehabilitation hospital wards. MEASURES: Delirium was evaluated with the 4-AT and the motor subtypes with the Delirium Motor Subtype Scale. Dementia was defined by the presence of a documented diagnosis in the medical records and/or prescription of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors or memantine prior to admission. RESULTS: Of the 1057 patients with dementia, 35% had delirium, with 25.6% hyperactive, 33.1% hypoactive, 34.5% mixed, and 6.7% nonmotor subtype. There were higher odds of having venous catheters in the hypoactive (OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.18-2.81) and mixed type of delirium (OR 2.23, CI 1.43-3.46), whereas higher odds of urinary catheters in the hypoactive (OR 2.91, CI 1.92-4.39), hyperactive (OR 1.99, CI 1.23-3.21), and mixed types of delirium (OR 2.05, CI 1.36-3.07). We found higher odds of antipsychotics both in the hyperactive (OR 2.87, CI 1.81-4.54) and mixed subtype (OR 1.84, CI 1.24-2.75), whereas higher odds of antibiotics was present only in the mixed subtype (OR 1.91, CI 1.26-2.87). CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: In patients with dementia, the mixed delirium subtype is the most prevalent followed by the hypoactive, hyperactive, and nonmotor subtype. Motor subtypes of delirium may be triggered by clinical factors, including the use of venous and urinary catheters, and the use of antipsychotics. Future studies are necessary to provide further insights on the possible pathophysiology of delirium in patients with dementia and to address the optimization of the management of potential risk factors.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Med Dir Assoc

Publication Date





486 - 492.e7


Motor subtypes of delirium, dementia, elderly, Aged, Cross-Sectional Studies, Delirium, Dementia, Humans, Inpatients, Italy