Dynamic Delirium Severity Trajectories and Their Association With 2-Year Healthcare Utilization and Mortality Outcomes

Crit Care Explor. 2021 Sep 10;3(9):e0524. doi: 10.1097/CCE.0000000000000524. eCollection 2021 Sep.


Delirium severity has been associated with a higher risk of mortality and an increasing morbidity burden. Recently defined delirium severity trajectories were predictive of 30-day mortality in a critically ill patient population. No studies to date have examined associations between delirium severity trajectories and 2-year mortality and healthcare utilization outcomes.

Objectives: To examine the associations between recently defined delirium severity trajectories and 2-year healthcare utilization outcomes of emergency department visits, rehospitalizations, and mortality.

Design setting and participants: This is a secondary analysis using data from the randomized controlled clinical trial Pharmacological Management of Delirium in the Intensive Care Unit and Deprescribing in the Pharmacologic Management of Delirium trial conducted from 2009 to 2015. Patients who were greater than or equal to 18 years old, were in the ICU for greater than or equal to 24 hours, and had a positive delirium assessment (Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU) were included in the original trial. Participants were included in the secondary analysis if 2-year healthcare utilization and mortality data were available (n = 431).

Main outcomes and measures: Healthcare utilization data within 2 years of the initial discharge date were pulled from the Indiana Network for Patient Care. Data over a 2-year period on emergency department visits (days to first emergency department visit, number of emergency department visits), inpatient hospitalizations (days to first hospitalizations, number of hospitalizations), and mortality (time to death) were extracted. Univariate relationships, Cox proportional hazard models, and competing risk modeling were used to examine statistical relationships in SAS v9.4.

Results: The overall sample (n = 431) had a mean age of 60 (sd, 16), 56% were females, and 49% African-Americans. No significant associations were identified between delirium severity trajectories and time to event for emergency department visit, mortality, or rehospitalization within 2 years of the index hospital discharge.

Conclusions and relevance: This secondary analysis did not identify a significant relationship between delirium severity trajectories and healthcare utilization or mortality within 2 years of hospital discharge.

Keywords: delirium; delirium severity; healthcare utilization; mortality; trajectories.