Deakin University

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Validation of Two Screening Tools for Detecting Delirium in Older Patients in the Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit: A Diagnostic Test Accuracy Study

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-20, 22:59 authored by Rami Aldwikat, Elizabeth ManiasElizabeth Manias, A Holmes, Emily TomlinsonEmily Tomlinson, Pat NicholsonPat Nicholson
(1) Background: Delirium is a common complication among surgical patients after major surgery, but it is often underdiagnosed in the post-anaesthetic care unit (PACU). Valid and reliable tools are required for improving diagnoses of delirium. The objective of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic test accuracy of the Three-Minute Diagnostic Interview for Confusion Assessment Method (3D-CAM) and the 4A’s Test (4AT) as screening tools for detection of delirium in older people in the PACU. (2) Methods: A prospective diagnostic test accuracy study was conducted in the PACU and surgical wards of a university-affiliated tertiary care hospital in Victoria, Australia. A consecutive prospective cohort of elective and emergency patients (aged 65 years or older) admitted to the PACU were recruited between July 2021 and December 2021 following a surgical procedure performed under general anaesthesia and expected to stay in the hospital for at least 24 h following surgery. The outcome measures were sensitivity, specificity positive predictive value and negative predictive value for 3D-CAM and 4AT. (3) Results: A total of 271 patients were recruited: 16.2% (44/271) had definite delirium. For a diagnosis of definite delirium, the 3D-CAM (area under curve (AUC) = 0.96) had a sensitivity of 100% (95% CI 92.0 to 100.0) in the PACU and during the first 5 days post-operatively. Specificity ranged from 93% (95% CI 87.8 to 95.2) to 91% (95% CI 85.9 to 95.2) in the PACU and during the first 5 days post-operatively. The 4AT (AUC = 0.92) had a sensitivity of 93% (95% CI 81.7 to 98.6) in the PACU and during the first 5 days post-operatively, and specificity ranged from 89% (95% CI 84.6 to 93.1) to 87% (95%CI 80.9 to 91.8) in the PACU and during the first 5 days post-operatively. (4) Conclusions: The 3D-CAM and the 4AT are sensitive and specific screening tools that can be used to detect delirium in older people in the PACU. Screening with either tool could have an important clinical impact by improving the accuracy of delirium detection in the PACU and hence preventing adverse outcomes associated with delirium.



International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health



Article number

ARTN 16020









Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal