Postoperative Delirium in Critically Ill Surgical Patients

Incidence, Risk Factors, and Predictive Scores

Onuma Chaiwat; Mellada Chanidnuan; Worapat Pancharoen; Kittiya Vijitmala; Praniti Danpornprasert; Puriwat Toadithep; Chayanan Thanakiattiwibun


BMC Anesthesiol. 2019;19(39) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: A common postoperative complication found among patients who are critically ill is delirium, which has a high mortality rate. A predictive model is needed to identify high-risk patients in order to apply strategies which will prevent and/or reduce adverse outcomes.

Objectives: To identify the incidence of, and the risk factors for, postoperative delirium (POD) in surgical intensive care unit (SICU) patients, and to determine predictive scores for the development of POD.

Methods: This study enrolled adults aged over 18 years who had undergone an operation within the preceding week and who had been admitted to a SICU for a period that was expected to be longer than 24 h. The CAM − ICU score was used to determine the occurrence of delirium.

Results: Of the 250 patients enrolled, delirium was found in 61 (24.4%). The independent risk factors for delirium that were identified by a multivariate analysis comprised age, diabetes mellitus, severity of disease (SOFA score), perioperative use of benzodiazepine, and mechanical ventilation. A predictive score (age + (5 × SOFA) + (15 × Benzodiazepine use) + (20 × DM) + (20 × mechanical ventilation) + (20 × modified IQCODE > 3.42)) was created. The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) was 0.84 (95% CI: 0.786 to 0.897). The cut point of 125 demonstrated a sensitivity of 72.13% and a specificity of 80.95%, and the hospital mortality rate was significantly greater among the delirious than the non-delirious patients (25% vs. 6%, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: POD was experienced postoperatively by a quarter of the surgical patients who were critically ill. A risk score utilizing 6 variables was able to predict which patients would develop POD. The identification of high-risk patients following SICU admission can provide a basis for intervention strategies to improve outcomes.