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Poor survival rate seen for cancer patients with delirium

Patients with advanced cancer who present at emergency departments with delirium have a poor survival rate, showing the need for delerium to be diagnosed early, a new study has found.

Patients with advanced cancer who present at emergency departments with delirium have a poor survival rate, showing the need for delerium to be diagnosed early, a new study has found.

delerium
Researchers stressed the importance of early diagnosis
of delirium in cancer patients. Picture: Alamy

Patients with advanced cancer who present at emergency departments with delirium are prone to an earlier death, a new study has found.

Researchers believe their study highlights the importance of diagnosing delirium in patients with cancer early, as it can be missed on a busy ward.

Researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center studied 243 patients with cancer, of whom 18% had delirium.

They investigated the proportion admitted to hospital and intensive care units, and recorded how long they lived after their visit to the emergency department.

Survival

They found that 89% of patients with cancer who had delirium were admitted to hospital, compared with 49% of those without delirium.

Patients with delirium were also much more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

Advanced cancer patients with delirium survived for a median time of between one and four months after their visit to the emergency department, compared with more than 10 months for patients without delirium.

‘To the best our knowledge this is the first study to show the poor survival of advanced cancer patients in the emergency department setting,’ said lead author Ahmed Elsayem.


Elsayem A et al (2017) Advance directives, hospitalization, and survival among advanced cancer patients with delirium presenting to the emergency department: a prospective study. The Oncologist. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2017-0115.

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