Pediatric delirium and associated risk factors: a single-center prospective observational study

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2015 May;16(4):303-309. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000000356.


Objective: To describe a single-institution pilot study regarding prevalence and risk factors for delirium in critically ill children.

Design: A prospective observational study, with secondary analysis of data collected during the validation of a pediatric delirium screening tool, the Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium.

Setting: This study took place in the PICU at an urban academic medical center.

Patients: Ninety-nine consecutive patients, ages newborn to 21 years.

Intervention: Subjects underwent a psychiatric evaluation for delirium based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV criteria.

Measurements and main results: Prevalence of delirium in this sample was 21%. In multivariate analysis, risk factors associated with the diagnosis of delirium were presence of developmental delay, need for mechanical ventilation, and age 2-5 years.

Conclusions: In our institution, pediatric delirium is a prevalent problem, with identifiable risk factors. Further large-scale prospective studies are required to explore multi-institutional prevalence, modifiable risk factors, therapeutic interventions, and effect on long-term outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Delirium / diagnosis*
  • Delirium / epidemiology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / epidemiology
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult