Organic mental syndrome and disorders in consultation-liaison psychiatry

The purpose of the current study is to investigate the organic mental syndromes (OMS) seen' in consultation - liaison (C-L) psychiatry service in a general hospital.

The sample we studied consisted of 60 patients (33 males 27 females) who were diagnosed as OMS according to OMS IIIR criteria. The patients were attended in the terms of the C-L service of our department during 1998.

In order to register and investigate OMS we used the Mini Mental State Examination and the Hamilton Depression Scale. We devised and adapted a special questionnaire to investigate further more the symptoms of OMS.

10% of the references to the C-L service were patients with. OMS. Mean age +/- SD 61 +/- 21. 42% of the patients refered to us from the internal medicine departments, 33% from the surgical departments, 13% from the cardiologic department, 7% from the neurologic department and 5% from other departments. The patients fell into the following diagnostic categories: delirium 67%, dementia 12%, organic mood syndrome (depression) 12%, organic delusional syndrome 3%, organic hallucinosis 3%. The most frequent causes of delirium were: alcohol withdrawal 33%, metabolic and endocrine causes 33%, postsurgical 17%, systemic infections 7%, head trauma 5% and vascular causes 5%. Patients with organic mood syndrome suffered from depression due to metabolic and endocrine problems.

We treated delirium tremens with diazepame or clomethiazole and aloperidole. In order to treat other types of delirium we used small doses of aloperidole or pipamperone. Comparing our results with those of other studies we noticed a lot of similarities conserning the causes of delirioum and their frequency.