INTRODUCTION: Although postoperative delirium (POD) is a common in-hospital complication associated with negative outcomes, evidence in liver transplantation (LT) is scarce.
OBJECTIVE: We examined the incidence and duration of POD, its impact on outcomes and health-care utilization, and described predisposing and precipitating factors favoring POD development.
DESIGN: This prospective cohort study included adults undergoing transplantation in a tertiary hospital. Postoperative delirium was assessed 3 times daily until 24 days post-LT, with the Intensive Care Delirium Screening Checklist on the intensive care unit (ICU) and the Delirium Observation Screening Scale on the ward. Postoperative delirium was noted if any of the daily measurements was positive.
RESULTS: Forty-two patients (69% male, mean age 55 years, median Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score 15 [interquartile range 8-26]) were included. The incidence of POD was 45.2%, with a median duration of 5 days. Patients with POD had longer ICU (median 8 vs 2 days, P = .000) and hospital stays (median 32 vs 14 days, P = .000) as well as shorter survival (Breslow test P = .045, log-rank test P = .150). Pre-LT comorbidities and perioperative factors might be related to POD development.
CONCLUSION: Nurses are key persons in the detection of POD in the daily clinical routine. The high incidence of POD and its negative association with patient outcomes highlight not only the relevance of systematic assessment of POD after LT but also the need for preventive interventions.