The Particulars: Studies indicate that pneumonia is prevalent and potentially life-threatening in elderly patients presenting to the ED. In this population, delirium is common and may be the only manifestation of pneumonia.

Data Breakdown: A study was conducted using record reviews for patients hospitalized for pneumonia and treated for delirium. Each presented with hyperactive delirium and was treated with antipsychotics. The majority of patients improved with antipsychotic treatment. Psychiatric consultation, which was provided to all patients, was associated with fewer psychiatric visits and a shorter delirium treatment period when sought during the first week of hospitalization.

Take Home Pearls: Among elderly patients hospitalized for pneumonia, treatment of delirium with antipsychotics and psychiatric consultation appears to be effective. Psychiatric consultations were most effective when sought during the first week of hospitalization.