J Clin Med. 2023 Aug 17;12(16):5346. doi: 10.3390/jcm12165346.
BACKGROUND: Delirium is highly prevalent among elderly hospitalized patients in various healthcare settings. This study aimed to assess the impact of delirium on short- and long-term health outcomes.
METHODS: A prospective cohort included medically ill patients (≥65 years) admitted to a tertiary healthcare facility. Delirium was screened using the 3-Minute Diagnostic confusion assessment method (3D-CAM).
RESULTS: During hospitalization, 53.8% (n = 153/284) had delirium. Patients with delirium had a longer length of hospital stay (LOS) (7 vs. 5 days; p < 0.01) compared to patients without delirium. Delirium caused a higher frequency of high-dependency unit (HDU) or intensive care unit (ICU) admission (p < 0.01) and an increased incidence of hospital-acquired complications, including infections (p = 0.03), pressure injuries (p = 0.01), and upper gastrointestinal bleeding (p < 0.01). Inpatient all-cause mortality was higher in patients with delirium than those without delirium (16.3% vs. 1.5%; p < 0.01). Patients with delirium had higher rates of 90-day all-cause mortality (25.4% vs. 8.4%; p < 0.01) and 1-year all-cause mortality (35.9% vs. 16%; p < 0.01) compared to patients without delirium. Patients with delirium exhibited shorter survival periods at 90 days and 1 year compared to patients without delirium with a hazard ratio (HR) = 3.41, 95% CI: 1.75-6.66, p < 0.01 and HR = 2.64, 95% CI: 1.59-4.37, p < 0.01, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Delirium is associated with serious short-term and long-term clinical consequences. Early recognition, prevention, and targeted interventions addressing reversible risk factors are crucial. Further research is warranted to explore effective strategies for delirium management in general medical wards.