The impact of delirium on clinical outcomes in mechanically ventilated surgical and trauma patients

Ishaq Lat*, Wes McMillian, Scott Taylor, Jeff M. Janzen, Stella Papadopoulos, Laura Korth, As'Ad Ehtisham, Joe Nold, Suresh Agarwal, Ruben Azocar, Peter Burke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Objective: Previously, delirium has been identified as an independent risk factor for mortality in critically ill medical patients. We undertook this study to examine the relationships among medication usage, delirium, and clinical outcomes in a critically ill surgical/trauma population. Design: Prospective, multicentered, observational study. Setting: Two surgical intensive care units in level 1 trauma centers. Patients: One hundred thirty-four consecutive surgical adult patients requiring mechanical ventilation (MV) for greater than 24 hours. Interventions: Daily delirium assessment with the Confusion Assessment Method-Intensive Care Unit tool, outcomes assessment, and prospective data collection. Measurement and main results: Of the 134 patients who met inclusion criteria, 84 patients (63%) developed delirium at some point during their intensive care unit (ICU) stay. Delirium was associated with more MV days (9.1 vs. 4.9 days, p < 0.01), longer ICU stay (12.2 vs. 7.4 days, p < 0.01), longer hospital stay (20.6 vs. 14.7 days, p < 0.01). Additionally, greater cumulative lorazepam dose (p = 0.012), and higher cumulative fentanyl dose (p = 0.035) were administered in the delirium group. Conclusions: Delirium in the surgical/trauma ICU cohort is independently associated with more days requiring MV, longer ICU length of stay, and longer hospital length of stay. Additionally, greater amounts of lorazepam and fentanyl were administered to patients with delirium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1898-1905
Number of pages8
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Critically ill
  • Delirium
  • Intensive care
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Surgical
  • Trauma


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