Effect of organizational factors on the variation in incidence of delirium in ICU patients: a systematic review and meta regression analysis

Paul Rood, Getty Huisman - de Waal, Hester Vermeulen, Lisette Schoonhoven, Peter Pickkers, Mark van den Boogaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: delirium occurs frequently in intensive care unit (ICU) patients and is associated with numerous deleterious outcomes. There is a large variation in reported delirium occurrence rates, ranging from 4% to 89%. Apart from patient and treatment-related factors, organisational factors could influence delirium incidence, but this is currently unknown.Objective: to systematically review delirium incidence and determine whether or not organisational factors may contribute to the observed delirium incidence in adult ICU patients.Methods: systematic review of prospective cohort studies reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. Included articles were independently assessed by two researchers. Quality of the articles was determined using the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology checklist. Subsequently, apart from patient characteristics, a meta-regression analysis was performed on available organisational factors, including hospital type, screening method and screening frequency.Data Sources: PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and Cochrane Library databases were searched from inception to 27 January 2017, without language limitation.Results: a total of 9357 articles were found, of which 19 articles met the inclusion criteria and were considered as true delirium incidence studies. The articles were of good methodological quality (median [interquartile range] 32/38 [30–35] points), published between 2005 and 2016, originated from 17 countries. A total of 9867 ICU patients were included. The incidence rate of delirium varied between 4% and 55%, with a mean ± standard deviation of 29 ± 14%. Data relating to three organisational factors were included in the studies, but they were not significantly associated with the reported delirium incidence: hospital type (p 0.48), assessment methods (p 0.41), and screening frequency (p 0.28).Conclusions: the mean incidence of delirium in the ICU was 29%. The organisational factors found including methods of delirium assessment, screening frequency, and hospital type were not related to the reported ICU delirium incidence.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Critical Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical care
  • Delirium
  • Incidence
  • Meta-analysis
  • Organisational factors
  • Systematic review


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