Motor Disturbances in Elderly Medical Inpatients and Their Relationship to Delirium

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Motor disturbances in delirious patients are common, but their relationship to cognition and severity of illness has not been studied. We examined motor subtypes in an older age inpatient population, their relationship to clinical variables including delirium, and their association with 1-year mortality in a prospective study, using the Confusion Assessment Method, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II, Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), Barthel Index, and Delirium Rating Scale–Revised 98 (DRS-R98). Motor subtypes were evaluated using 2 items of DRS-R98. Mortality rates were investigated 1 year later. Two hundred participated (mean age 81.1 [6.5]; 50% female). Thirty-four (17%) were identified with delirium. Motor subtypes were none: 119 (59.5%), hypoactive: 37 (18.5%), hyperactive: 29 (14.5%), and mixed: 15 (7.5%). Hypoactive and mixed subtypes were significantly more frequent in delirious patients. Regression analysis showed that hypoactive subtype was significantly associated with lower MoCA. No relationship between motor subtypes and mortality was found. Motor disturbances are not unique to delirium, with hypoactivity particularly associated with impaired cognition.

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