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The diagnosis of delirium in an acute-care hospital in Moscow: what does the Pandora’s box contain?

Authors Tkacheva ON, Runikhina NK, Vertkin AL, Voronina IV, Sharashkina NV, Mkhitaryan EA, Ostapenko VS, Prokhorovich EA, Freud T, Press Y

Received 26 September 2016

Accepted for publication 6 December 2016

Published 21 February 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 343—349


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Olga N Tkacheva,1 Nadezda K Runikhina,1 Arkadiy L Vertkin,2 Irina V Voronina,1 Natalia V Sharashkina,1 Elen A Mkhitaryan,1 Valentina S Ostapenko,1 Elena A Prokhorovich,2 Tamar Freud,3 Yan Press3–5

1Russian Gerontology Clinical Research Center, Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University of Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation, 2Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry named after AI Evdokimov, Moscow, Russia; 3Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Sial Family Medicine and Primary Care Research Center, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 4Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment Unit, Clalit Health Care Services, Yassky Clinic, 5Community-Based Geriatric Unit, Division of Community Health, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Background: Delirium, a common problem among hospitalized elderly patients, is not usually diagnosed by doctors for various reasons. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a short training course on the identification of delirium and the diagnostic rate of delirium among hospitalized patients aged ≥65 years. The secondary aim was to identify the risk factors for delirium.
A prospective study was conducted in an acute-care hospital in Moscow, Russia. Six doctors underwent a short training course on delirium. Data collected included assessment by the confusion assessment method for the intensive care units, sociodemographic data, functional state before hospitalization, comorbidity, and hospitalization indices (indication for hospitalization, stay in intensive care unit, results of laboratory tests, length of hospitalization, and in-hospital mortality).
Delirium was diagnosed in 13 of 181 patients (7.2%) who underwent assessment. Cognitive impairment was diagnosed more among patients with delirium (30.0% vs 6.1%, P=0.029); Charlson comorbidity index was higher (3.6±2.4 vs 2.3±1.8, P=0.013); and Barthel index was lower (43.5±34.5 vs 94.1±17.0, P=0.000). The length of hospitalization was longer for patients with delirium at 13.9±7.3 vs 8.8±4.6 days (P=0.0001), and two of the 13 patients with delirium died during hospitalization compared with none of the 168 patients without delirium (P=0.0001).
Although the rate of delirium was relatively low compared with studies from the West, this study proves that an educational intervention among doctors can bring about a significant change in the diagnosis of the condition.

Keywords: delirium, elderly, inpatients, Russia

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