Han JH, Schnelle JF, Ely EW. The relationship between a chief complaint of "altered mental status" and delirium in older emergency department patients. Academic emergency medicine : official journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. 2014 Aug;21(21). 937-40. PMID: 25154589 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC4150739 NIHMSID: NIHMS603150.
Altered mental status is a common chief complaint among older emergency department (ED) patients. Patients with this chief complaint are likely delirious, but to the authors' knowledge, this relationship has not been well characterized. Additionally, health care providers frequently ascribe "altered mental status" to other causes, such as dementia, psychosis, or depression.