Article Title

The prevalence of catatonic syndrome in an acute psychiatric ward


Aim: The aim of this prospective study was to determine the prevalence of the catatonic syndrome in a cohort of patients admitted to acute psychiatric units in Hungary.

Method: Patients admitted to the acute inpatient unit of the Center of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Szent István and Szent László Hospitals in a 4-month period were screened for catatonic signs and symptoms. Catatonic signs/symptoms were scored according to both the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria and the Bush–Francis Catatonia Rating Scale (BFCRS). Clinical diagnoses were established using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Disorders (SCID), while cognitive performance was estimated with the Clock Drawing Test and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).

Results: During the study period, 342 patients were admitted to the above-mentioned acute inpatient units. The prevalence figures for the catatonic syndrome were 8.55% and 5.02% according to the BFCRS and the DSM-5, respectively.

Conclusions: The prevalence of catatonic syndrome in an acute inpatient setting is within the broad range of figures reported in the literature. The difference between the standardized assessment (BFCRS) and routine clinical judgment (DSM-5) is noteworthy and suggests that a significant minority of catatonic patients might not be identified in clinical practice. As acute catatonia can be effectively treated, and early treatment could prevent potentially life-threatening complications, recognition of catatonic symptoms is vitally important.


catatonia, prevalence, DSM-5, Bush–Francis Catatonia Rating Scale

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