Delirium and COVID-19: a narrative review of emerging evidence

L White, T Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Delirium is a common condition affecting hospital inpatients, including those having surgery and on the intensive care unit. Delirium is also common in patients with COVID-19 in hospital settings, and the occurrence is higher than expected for similar infections. The short-term outcomes of those with COVID-19 delirium are similar to that of classical delirium and include increased length of stay and increased mortality. Management of delirium in COVID-19 in the context of a global pandemic is limited by the severity of the syndrome and compounded by the environmental constraints. Practical management includes effective screening, early identification and appropriate treatment aimed at minimising complications and timely escalation decisions. The pandemic has played out on the national stage and the effect of delirium on patients, relatives and healthcare workers remains unknown but evidence from the previous SARS outbreak suggests there may be long-lasting psychological damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
No competing interests declared.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Association of Anaesthetists


  • Brain/metabolism
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Delirium/epidemiology
  • Health Personnel/psychology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators/metabolism
  • Intensive Care Units/trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Delirium and COVID-19: a narrative review of emerging evidence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this