A study published today in JAMA Network Open shows that 28% of older COVID-19 patients at seven US emergency departments (EDs) had delirium, putting them at higher risk of an intensive care unit (ICU) stay and death.

A research team led by Massachusetts General Hospital scientists found that, of 817 COVID-19 patients 65 and older arriving at EDs, 226 (28%) had delirium, which was the sixth most common of all signs and symptoms. Delirium was a primary symptom in 37 (16%) of patients with delirium. Eighty-four patients with delirium (37%) had no typical COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever or shortness of breath. (Older adults are less likely than younger people to respond to infection with a fever.)

Delirium, which involves confusion, impaired consciousness, disorientation, lack

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