Mortality was determined in 519 patients with delirium who were seen in psychiatric consultation in two general hospitals. Among 419 patients with simple delirium (DSM-III: 293.00) in-hospital mortality was 26%. As compared to average hospital patients the age adjusted in-hospital excess mortality ratio varied from 6.2 for patients with malignancies to 2.1 for patients with motor system disease. After hospital discharge the 5-yr cumulative mortality was 51%. As compared to the general population excess mortality was noted in most, but not in all diagnostic subgroups. The age and sex adjusted excess mortality ratio varied from 14.1 for malignancies to 1.3 for motor system disease. The figures underline a general notion that delirium may be an indicator of disorders of grave prognosis, but mortality appears to depend more on the medical condition than on the presence of delirium.,
Journal of Psychosomatic Research
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Hemert, B., van der Mast, R., Hengeveld, M., & Vorstenbosch, M. (1994). Excess mortality in general hospital patients with delirium: A 5-year follow-up of 519 patients seen in psychiatric consultation. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 38(4), 339–346. doi:10.1016/0022-3999(94)90038-8