Publication Details

Kaelle, J., Abujam, A., Ediriweera, H. & Macfarlane, M. D. (2016). Prevalence and symptomatology of catatonia in elderly patients referred to a consultation-liaison psychiatry service. Australasian Psychiatry, 24 (2), 164-167.


Objectives: To determine the prevalence and clinical correlations of catatonia in patients aged over 65 years who are referred to a consultation-liaison service within a regional area of Australia. Additionally, to examine if the use of standardised screening tools is likely to change the rate of diagnosis of catatonia within the consultation-liaison service. Methods: One hundred and eight referrals from general hospital wards were assessed using the Bush-Francis Catatonia Screening Instrument (BFCSI) and associated examination; each consented patient was screened for catatonic symptoms. If two or more signs were present on the BFCSI, then severity was rated using the Bush-Francis Catatonia Rating Scale. These clinical characteristics were compared with their socio-demographic and medical data. Results: Prevalence of catatonia was 5.5%. The most common symptoms appeared to be rigidity, posturing and immobility (67% of cases), and were elicited through routine psychiatric examination. Conclusions: Routine psychiatric history and examination are likely sufficient to elicit catatonic signs in a consultation-liaison setting. Standardised screening examination may be more suited for conducting research or for use when examining for catatonia in psychiatric inpatient settings.



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