Dementia is the leading risk factor for delirium, and delirium is an independent risk factor for subsequent dementia. The two are highly interlinked and increasing evidence points towards potential shared pathophysiologic pathways. Sharon K. Inouye, MD, MPH, Hebrew SeniorLife/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, discusses the key features of delirium and how delirium superimposed on dementia (DSD) can contribute to worsened cognitive trajectories and clinical outcomes. DSD is associated with worsening of functional status, higher mortality rates, increased need for institutionalization and rehabilitation, and increased healthcare costs, compared to patients with delirium or dementia alone. Diagnosing DSD can be challenging, particularly in advanced stages of dementia, leaving it under-recognized. Given the impact of DSD on clinical outcomes, identifying delirium risk/presence and intervening is of the utmost importance. This interview took place at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2022 in San Diego, CA.
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