Delirium in the pediatric hematology, oncology, and bone marrow transplant population

Katrina Winsnes, Paul Sochacki, Carl Eriksson, Evan Shereck, Michael Recht, Kyle Johnson, Rebecca Loret De Mola, Linda Stork

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Delirium affects 10% to 30% of patients in pediatric intensive care units (PICU) and is associated with increased length of stay and prolonged late sequela. There are no prospective trials evaluating delirium in the pediatric hematology, oncology, and bone marrow transplant (PHO) population. Hypothesizing that delirium is underrecognized in this population, our study aimed to identify the prevalence of delirium in hospitalized PHO patients and associated risk factors. Procedure: PHO and PICU nurses were trained to use the Cornell Assessment for Pediatric Delirium and to record scores once every 12-hour shift. Predetermined demographic and clinical variables were collected daily on all hospitalized PHO patients during the year-long prospective study. Results: Prior to initiating routine delirium screening, 1.1% of PHO admissions and 2.4% of unique patients had delirium mentioned in a progress note. This study included 807 consecutive admissions: 671 oncology, 49 hematology, and 87 bone marrow transplant (BMT) hospitalizations among 223 unique PHO patients. The prevalence of delirium among hospitalizations was 5% and among unique patients was 13%. Among BMT hospitalizations, the prevalence was 23%. Multiple logistic regression identified significant association of delirium with increased length of stay, admission to the BMT service, patient location (PICU vs PHO unit), benzodiazepine, opioid, and anticholinergic administration. Conclusions: Before routine screening, delirium was underrecognized in this PHO-hospitalized population. Patients at highest risk had prolonged hospital stays, PICU admissions, BMT, and/or frequent use of benzodiazepines, opioids, or anticholinergics. Routine screening is feasible and may improve our recognition of delirium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27640
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • delirium
  • outcomes research
  • pediatric hematology/oncology
  • transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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