Association of delirium with increased short-term mortality among older emergency department patients: A cohort study

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Am J Emerg Med. 2023 Apr;66:105-110. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2023.01.040. Epub 2023 Jan 26.


STUDY OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between delirium and subsequent short-term mortality in geriatric patients presenting to the emergency department (ED).

METHODS: This was an observational cohort study of adults age ≥75 years who presented to an academic ED and were screened for delirium during their ED visit. The Delirium Triage Screen followed by the Brief Confusion Assessment Method were used to ascertain the presence of delirium. In-hospital, 7-day, and 30-day mortality were compared between patients with and without ED delirium. Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated through logistic regression after adjusting for confounders including age, sex, history of dementia, ED disposition, and acuity.

RESULTS: A total of 967 ED visits were included for analysis among which delirium was detected in 107 (11.1%). The median age of the cohort was 83 years (IQR 79, 88), 526 (54.4%) were female, 285 (29.5%) had documented dementia, and 171 (17.7%) had a high acuity Emergency Severity Index triage level 1 or 2. During the hospitalization, 5/107 (4.7%) of those with delirium and 4/860 (0.5%) of those without delirium died. Within 7 days of ED departure, 6/107 (5.6%) of those with delirium and 6/860 (0.7%) of those without delirium died (unadjusted OR 8.46, 95% CI 2.68-26.71). Within 30 days, 18/107 (16.8%) of those with delirium and 37/860 (4.3%) of those without delirium died (unadjusted OR 4.50, 95% CI 2.46-8.23). ED delirium remained associated with higher 7-day (adjusted OR 5.23, 95% CI 1.44-19.05, p = 0.008) and 30-day mortality (adjusted OR 2.82, 95% CI 1.45-5.46, p = 0.002).

CONCLUSION: Delirium is an important prognostic factor that ED clinicians and nurses must be aware of to optimize delirium prevention, management, disposition, and communication with patients and families.

PMID:36738568 | PMC:PMC10038894 | DOI:10.1016/j.ajem.2023.01.040

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