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Among cognitive reserve markers, educational attainment is the most widely studied, with several studies establishing a strong association with risk of dementia. However, it has not yet been fully examined in delirium. This study aims to analyse the relationship between educational attainment and delirium.
The study included elderly hospitalised patients admitted (≥48 h) into an intermediate care unit (IMCU) of Intensive Care Medicine Service. Exclusion criteria were as follows: Glasgow Coma Scale (total≤11), blindness/deafness, inability to communicate or to speak Portuguese. The European Portuguese Version of the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) was used for delirium assessment.
The final sample (n=157) had a mean age of 78.8 (SD=7.6) the majority being female (52.2%), married (51.5%) and with low educational level (49%). According to CAM, 21% of the patients had delirium. The delirium group presented the fewest years of education (median 1 vs. 4), with statistical significance (p=0.003). Delirium was more frequent among male patients [odds ratio (OR) 0.32; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.12–0.86; p=0.023], as well as those patients with lower education (OR 0.76; 95% CI 0.62–0.95; p=0.016), and with respiratory disease (OR 3.35; 95% CI 1.20–9.33; p=0.020), after controlling for age and medication.
Similar to previous studies, these findings point to a negative correlation between education and delirium. This study appears as an attempt to contribute to the knowledge about the role of cognitive reserve in risk of delirium, particularly because is the first one that has been carried out in an IMCU, with lower educated elderly patients. Further studies are needed to clarify this relationship considering other markers (e.g. cognitive activities), which can contribute to the definition of preventive strategies.
The Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) is the most widely used delirium screening instrument. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reliability and validity of the European Portuguese version of CAM.
The sample included elderly patients (≥65 years), admitted for at least 48 h, into two intermediate care units (ICMU) of Intensive Medicine and Surgical Services in a university hospital. Exclusion criteria were: score ≤11 on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), blindness/deafness, inability to communicate and to speak Portuguese. For concurrent validity, a blinded assessment was conducted by a psychiatrist (DSM-IV-TR, as a reference standard) and by a trained researcher (CAM). This instrument was also compared with other cognitive measures to evaluate convergent validity. Inter-rater reliability was also assessed.
In this sample (n = 208), 25% (n = 53) of the patients had delirium, according to DSM-IV-TR. Using this reference standard, the CAM had a moderate sensitivity of 79% and an excellent specificity of 99%. The positive predictive value was 95%, indicating a strong ability to confirm delirium with a positive test result, and the negative predictive value was lower (93%). Good convergent validity was also found, in particular with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) (rs = −0.676; p ≤0.01) and Digit Span Test (DST) forward (rs = −0.605; p ≤0.01), as well as a high inter-rater reliability (diagnostic k = 1.00; single items’ k between 0.65 and 1.00).
Robust results on concurrent and convergent validity and good reliability were achieved. This version was shown to be a valid and reliable instrument for delirium detection in elderly patients hospitalized in intermediate care units.
To present the pilot study on the European Portuguese validation of the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM).
The translation process was carried out according to International Society Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research guidelines with trained researchers and inter-rater reliability assessment. The study included 50 elderly patients, admitted (≥24 h) to two intermediate care units. Exclusion criteria were: Glasgow Coma Scale (total score ≤11), blindness/deafness, inability to communicate and not able to speak Portuguese. The sensitivity and specificity of CAM were assessed, with DSM-IV-TR criteria of delirium used as a reference standard.