To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Delirium is a frequent complication in advanced cancer patients, among whom it is frequently underdiagnosed and inadequately treated. To date, evidence on risk factors and the prognostic impact of delirium on outcomes remains sparse in this patient population.
In this prospective observational cohort study at a single tertiary-care center, 1,350 cancer patients were enrolled. Simple and multiple logistic regression models were utilized to identify associations between predisposing and precipitating factors and delirium. Cox proportional-hazards models were used to estimate the effect of delirium on death rate.
In our patient cohort, the prevalence of delirium was 34.3%. Delirium was associated inter alia with prolonged hospitalization, a doubling of care requirements, increased healthcare costs, increased need for institutionalization (OR 3.22), and increased mortality (OR 8.78). Predisposing factors for delirium were impaired activity (OR 10.82), frailty (OR 4.75); hearing (OR 2.23) and visual impairment (OR 1.89), chronic pneumonitis (OR 2.62), hypertension (OR 1.46), and renal insufficiency (OR 1.82). Precipitating factors were acute renal failure (OR 7.50), pressure sores (OR 3.78), pain (OR 2.86), and cystitis (OR 1.32). On multivariate Cox regression, delirium increased the mortality risk sixfold (HR 5.66). Age ≥ 65 years and comorbidities further doubled the mortality risk of delirious patients (HR 1.77; HR 2.05).
Significance of results
Delirium is common in cancer patients and associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Systematically categorizing predisposing and precipitating factors might yield new strategies for preventing and managing delirium in cancer patients.
Patients with terminal illness are at high risk of developing delirium, in particular, those with multiple predisposing and precipitating risk factors. Delirium in palliative care is largely under-researched, and few studies have systematically assessed key aspects of delirium in elderly, palliative-care patients.
In this prospective, observational cohort study at a tertiary care center, 229 delirious palliative-care patients stratified by age: <65 (N = 105) and ≥65 years (N = 124), were analyzed with logistic regression models to identify associations with respect to predisposing and precipitating factors.
In 88% of the patients, the underlying diagnosis was cancer. Mortality rate and median time to death did not differ significantly between the two age groups. No inter-group differences were detected with respect to gender, care requirements, length of hospital stay, or medical costs. In patients ≥65 years, exclusively predisposing factors were relevant for delirium, including hearing impairment [odds ratio (OR) 3.64; confidence interval (CI) 1.90–6.99; P < 0.001], hypertension (OR 3.57; CI 1.84–6.92; P < 0.001), and chronic kidney disease (OR 4.84; CI 1.19–19.72; P = 0.028). In contrast, in patients <65 years, only precipitating factors were relevant for delirium, including cerebral edema (OR 0.02; CI 0.01–0.43; P = 0.012).
Significance of results
The results of this study demonstrate that death in delirious palliative-care patients occurs irrespective of age. The multifactorial nature and adverse outcomes of delirium across all age in these patients require clinical recognition. Potentially reversible factors should be detected early to prevent or mitigate delirium and its poor survival outcomes.
Delirium is a common complication in palliative care patients, especially in the terminal phase of the illness. To date, evidence regarding risk factors and prognostic outcomes of delirium in this vulnerable population remains sparse.
In this prospective observational cohort study at a tertiary care center, 410 palliative care patients were included. Simple and multiple logistic regression models were used to identify associations between predisposing and precipitating factors and delirium in palliative care patients.
The prevalence of delirium in this palliative care cohort was 55.9% and reached 93% in the terminally ill. Delirium was associated with prolonged hospitalization (p < 0.001), increased care requirements (p < 0.001) and health care costs (p < 0.001), requirement for institutionalization (OR 0.11; CI 0.069–0.171; p < 0.001), and increased mortality (OR 18.29; CI 8.918–37.530; p < 0.001). Predisposing factors for delirium were male gender (OR 2.19; CI 1.251–3.841; p < 0.01), frailty (OR 15.28; CI 5.885–39.665; p < 0.001), hearing (OR 3.52; CI 1.721–7.210; p < 0.001), visual impairment (OR 3.15; CI 1.765–5.607; p < 0.001), and neoplastic brain disease (OR 3.63; CI 1.033–12.771; p < 0.05). Precipitating factors for delirium were acute renal failure (OR 6.79; CI 1.062–43.405; p < 0.05) and pressure sores (OR 3.66; CI 1.102–12.149; p < 0.05).
Significance of results
Our study identified several predisposing and precipitating risk factors for delirium in palliative care patients, some of which can be targeted early and modified to reduce symptom burden.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.