Table of Contents
International Journal of Palliative Care
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 214265, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/214265
Research Article

Incidence and Cause of Delirium in Hospitalized Patients between the Ages of 18 and 56: A Retrospective Chart Review

1Department of Family Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242-1000, USA
2Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242-1000, USA
3Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA
4Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Bronx, NY 10468, USA

Received 20 June 2013; Accepted 11 November 2013; Published 28 January 2014

Academic Editors: Sushma Bhatnagar, Seref Komurcu, and Simon Noble

Copyright © 2014 Michelle T. Weckmann et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. Delirium is a common and devastating condition which has been well characterized in elderly cancer patients, but little is known about delirium in cancer patients under the age of 65. Aim. A pilot study to explore the incidence and potential causes of delirium in hospitalized advanced cancer patients at the age of 18–56 years. Design. A retrospective chart review using validated instruments was used to examine the charts of hematology-oncology admissions in a large academic institution. Data was collected as to the likelihood of delirium and potential precipitants. Results. Delirium incidence was 29% among advanced cancer patients. The associated precipitants of delirium were multifactorial, the most common being medications and infection. Delirium was more common in patients admitted for either acute symptom management or the presence of a lung malignancy. Patients with delirium demonstrated significantly increased total hospital cost and a borderline significant result for increased mortality compared to those without delirium. Conclusions. Delirium is common in hospitalized advanced cancer patients (age 18–56 years) and the cause is typically multifactorial. Delirium results in a more complicated hospital course and likely increased mortality. Further research is needed to define strategies to prevent and treat this common and distressing condition.