The attributable mortality of delirium in critically ill patients: prospective cohort study.

Link to article at PubMed

The attributable mortality of delirium in critically ill patients: prospective cohort study.

BMJ. 2014;349:g6652

Authors: Klein Klouwenberg PM, Zaal IJ, Spitoni C, Ong DS, van der Kooi AW, Bonten MJ, Slooter AJ, Cremer OL

OBJECTIVE: To determine the attributable mortality caused by delirium in critically ill patients.
DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.
SETTING: 32 mixed bed intensive care unit in the Netherlands, January 2011 to July 2013.
PARTICIPANTS: 1112 consecutive adults admitted to an intensive care unit for a minimum of 24 hours.
EXPOSURES: Trained observers evaluated delirium daily using a validated protocol. Logistic regression and competing risks survival analyses were used to adjust for baseline variables and a marginal structural model analysis to adjust for confounding by evolution of disease severity before the onset of delirium.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Mortality during admission to an intensive care unit.
RESULTS: Among 1112 evaluated patients, 558 (50.2%) developed at least one episode of delirium, with a median duration of 3 days (interquartile range 2-7 days). Crude mortality was 94/558 (17%) in patients with delirium compared with 40/554 (7%) in patients without delirium (P<0.001). Delirium was significantly associated with mortality in the multivariable logistic regression analysis (odds ratio 1.77, 95% confidence interval 1.15 to 2.72) and survival analysis (subdistribution hazard ratio 2.08, 95% confidence interval 1.40 to 3.09). However, the association disappeared after adjustment for time varying confounders in the marginal structural model (subdistribution hazard ratio 1.19, 95% confidence interval 0.75 to 1.89). Using this approach, only 7.2% (95% confidence interval -7.5% to 19.5%) of deaths in the intensive care unit were attributable to delirium, with an absolute mortality excess in patients with delirium of 0.9% (95% confidence interval -0.9% to 2.3%) by day 30. In post hoc analyses, however, delirium that persisted for two days or more remained associated with a 2.0% (95% confidence interval 1.2% to 2.8%) absolute mortality increase. Furthermore, competing risk analysis showed that delirium of any duration was associated with a significantly reduced rate of discharge from the intensive care unit (cause specific hazard ratio 0.65, 95% confidence interval 0.55 to 0.76).
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, delirium prolongs admission in the intensive care unit but does not cause death in critically ill patients. Future studies should focus on episodes of persistent delirium and its long term sequelae rather than on acute mortality.Trial registration NCT01905033.

PMID: 25422275 [PubMed - in process]

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