Background: The prevalence of delirium and its impact on outcomes after emergency general surgery (EGS) remain unexplored. The aims of our study were to assess the impact of frailty on delirium and the impact of delirium on outcomes in geriatric EGS patients. Study Design: We performed a 1-year (2017) prospective cohort analysis of all geriatric (age ≥ 65 years) patients who underwent EGS. Frailty was calculated using the Emergency General Surgery-Specific Frailty Index (ESFI). Delirium was assessed using the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM). Patients were dichotomized as delirious or non-delirious. We performed regression analysis controlling for demographics, admission vitals, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score, comorbidity, and the diagnosis and type of surgery. Results: A total of 163 patients underwent emergency general surgery and were included. Mean age was 71 ± 7 years, and 59% were male. Overall, the incidence of postoperative delirium was 26%. Patients who developed postoperative delirium were more likely to be frail (40% vs 14%, p < 0.01), on more than 3 medications (29% vs 18%, p < 0.01), and were more likely to have 3 or more comorbidities (32% vs 21%, p < 0.01). On regression analysis, frail status (odds ratio [OR] 3.7 [2.4–4.2], p < 0.01) and receiving more than 3 medications (OR 1.3 [range 1.1–1.4], p < 0.01) were independent predictors of developing postoperative delirium. An episode of delirium was associated with longer hospital length of stay (LOS) (6 days vs 3 days, p < 0.01), higher odds of ICU admission (OR 2 [1.3–4.5], p < 0.01), longer ICU LOS (2 days vs 1 day, p < 0.01), and higher odds of unplanned intubation (OR 1.8 [1.2–3.4], p < 0.01). Conclusions: The incidence of delirium after EGS was 26%. Frailty and polypharmacy were associated with increased risk of delirium. Delirium appears to be associated with higher rates of in-hospital adverse events.
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