Background The purpose of this study was to describe the admission characteristics of trauma victims that are predictive of the development of delirium during hospitalization. Methods In this case-control study, data (demographics, injury type, medical histories, admission laboratory values, medications, and outcomes) were obtained from the records of 120 patients in whom delirium developed and 145 in whom it did not after admission for traumatic injury. Odds ratios were employed to identify significant predictors used in a stepwise logistic regression analysis. Results Admission characteristics, retained after stepwise logistic regression, that were independently predictive of delirium were age more than 45 years, positive admission blood alcohol, and an elevated mean corpuscular volume. Those in whom delirium developed had longer hospital and intensive care unit lengths of stay than in whom it did not. Conclusions Older patients and alcoholics are at increased risk for delirum. Therapies directed at prevention have the potential to improve care and decrease lengths of stay.
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