Postoperative delirium mediates 180-day mortality in orthopaedic trauma patients

Citation:

Juan C. Pedemonte, Haoqi Sun, Esteban Franco-Garcia, Carmen Zhou, Marilyn Heng, Sadeq Quraishi, M. Brandon Westover, and Oluwaseun Akeju. 5/29/2021. “Postoperative delirium mediates 180-day mortality in orthopaedic trauma patients.” British Journal of Anaesthesia. Publisher's Version
Postoperative delirium mediates 180-day mortality in orthopaedic trauma patients

Abstract:

Background
Frailty has been associated with increased incidence of postoperative delirium and mortality. We hypothesised that postoperative delirium mediates a clinically significant (≥1%) percentage of the effect of frailty on mortality in older orthopaedic trauma patients.

Methods
This was a single-centre, retrospective observational study including 558 adults 65 yr and older, who presented with an extremity fracture requiring hospitalisation without initial ICU admission. We used causal statistical inference methods to estimate the relationships between frailty, postoperative delirium, and mortality.

Results
In the cohort, 180-day mortality rate was 6.5% (36/558). Frail and prefrail patients comprised 23% and 39%, respectively, of the study cohort. Frailty was associated with increased 180 day mortality from 1.4% to 12.2% (11% difference; 95% confidence interval [CI], 8.4–13.6), which translated statistically into an 88.7% (79.9–94.3%) direct effect and an 11.3% (5.7–20.1%) postoperative delirium mediated effect. Prefrailty was also associated with increased 180 day mortality from 1.4% to 4.4% (2.9% difference; 2.4–3.4), which was translated into a 92.5% (83.8–99.9%) direct effect and a 7.5% (0.1–16.2%) postoperative delirium mediated effect.

Conclusions
Frailty is associated with increased postoperative mortality, and delirium might mediate a clinically significant, but small percentage of this effect. Studies should assess whether, in patients with frailty, attempts to mitigate delirium might decrease postoperative mortality.