Level of Evidence = C
A programme of proactive geriatric consultation may reduce delirium incidence and severity in patients undergoing surgery for hip fracture.
A Cochrane review  included 6 studies with a total of 833 subjects. All were conducted in surgical settings, five in orthopaedic surgery and one in patients undergoing resection for gastric or colon cancer. Only one study of 126 hip fracture patients comparing proactive geriatric consultation with usual care was sufficiently powered to detect a difference in the primary outcome, incident delirium. Total cumulative delirium incidence during admission was reduced in the intervention group (OR 0.48 [95% CI 0.23, 0.98]; RR 0.64 [95% CI 0.37, 0.98]), suggesting a 'number needed to treat' of 5.6 patients to prevent one case. The intervention was particularly effective in preventing severe delirium. In logistic regression analyses adjusting for pre fracture dementia and Activities of Daily Living impairment, there was no reduction in effect size, OR 0.6, but this no longer remained significant [95% CI 0.3,1.3]. There was no effect on the duration of delirium episodes, length of hospital stay, and cognitive status or institutionalisation at discharge. There was also no significant difference in cumulative delirium incidence between treatment and control groups in a sub-group of 50 patients with dementia (RR 0.9 [95% CI 0.59, 1.36]). In another trial of low dose haloperidol prophylaxis, there was no difference in delirium incidence but the severity and duration of a delirium episode, and length of hospital stay were all reduced. No completed studies were identified in hospitalised medical care of the elderly, general surgery, cancer or intensive care patients. In outcomes, no studies examined for death, use of psychotropic medication, activities of daily living, psychological morbidity, quality of life, carers or staff psychological morbidity, cost of intervention and cost to health care services. Outcomes were only reported up to discharge, with no studies reporting medium or longer-term effects. Comment: The quality of evidence is downgraded by study quality (inadequate allocation concealment and by inconsistency of results) heterogeneity in interventions.
1. Siddiqi N, Stockdale R, Britton AM, Holmes J. Interventions for preventing delirium in hospitalised patients. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007 Apr 18;(2):CD005563. [PMID:17443600]
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