Prevalence of delirium in patients with advanced cancer admitted to a palliative care unit

Cristina Farriols Danés, Cinthya Pamela Landa Teran, Ada I. Ruiz Ripoll, José Planas Domingo

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3 Citations (Scopus)


© 2013 Sociedad Española de Cuidados Paliativos Objective To determine the prevalence of delirium in patients admitted to a palliative care unit (PCU) diagnosed with advanced cancer disease, and its associated sociodemographic and clinical factors. Method An observational study was conducted during a 6-year period (2007-2012) of patients suffering from an advanced cancer disease admitted to a PCU. Variables: delirium diagnosis, age, gender, Karnofsky performance status, primary tumour location, tumour stage, symptoms (pain, dyspnoea), and mortality. Results Of the 1,995 patients admitted to PCU in the study period 1,826 patients diagnosed with advanced cancer were included. Of these 1,826 patients, 497 (27.2%) suffered from delirium. The mean age was 72.3 ± 11.7 years, and 77.3% had metastatic disease, and 79.9% died during admission. The frequency of male gender (66% vs. 61%) and the presence of pain (58% vs. 45.9%) were significantly higher in patients with delirium than in patients without delirium. No significant statistically differences in the mean age and the presence of dyspnoea were found. There were no significant differences between patients ≤ 75 years and > 75 years (27.6% vs. 26.8%) for the prevalence of delirium. Within primary tumour locations, the major prevalence of delirium was in brain (39.3%), liver (36%), and kidney-urinary tract (34.5%) tumours. Conclusion The prevalence of delirium in advanced cancer patients admitted to a PCU was 27.2%. Prevalence of delirium was not associated with advanced age. Delirium was significantly more prevalent in men, and in patients who suffered from pain. Patients with primary brain tumour had the highest incidence of delirium.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-171
JournalMedicina Paliativa
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Delirium
  • Neoplasm
  • Palliative care
  • Prevalence


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