Research

Delirium in HIV-infected patients admitted to acute medical wards post universal access to antiretrovirals in South Africa

C Day, K Manning, F Abdullah, K James, L Grace, C April, G Calligaro, M Combrink, P Raubenheimer, J G Peter

Abstract


Background. Delirium is associated with increased mortality and length of hospital stay. Limited data are available from HIV-infected acute hospital admissions in developing countries. We conducted a prospective study of delirium among acute medical admissions in South Africa (SA), a developing country with universal antiretroviral therapy (ART) access and high burdens of tuberculosis (TB) and non-communicable disease.

Objectives. To identify the prevalence of, risk factors for and outcomes of delirium in HIV-infected individuals in acute general medical admissions.

Methods. Three cohorts of adult acute medical admissions to Groote Schuur and Victoria Wynberg hospitals, Cape Town, SA, were evaluated for prevalent delirium within 24 hours of admission. Reference delirium testing was performed by either consultant physicians or neuropsychologists, using the Confusion Assessment Method.

Results. The study included 1 182 acute medical admissions, with 318 (26.9%) HIV-infected. The median (interquartile range) age and CD4 count were 35 (30 - 43) years and 132 (61 - 256) cells/µL, respectively, with 140/318 (44.0%) using ART on admission. The prevalence of delirium was 17.6% (95% confidence interval (CI) 13.7 - 22.1) among HIV-infected patients, and delirium was associated with increased inpatient mortality. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, factors associated with delirium were age ≥55 years (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 6.95 (95% CI 2.03 - 23.67); p=0.002), and urea ≥15 mmol/L (aOR 4.83 (95% CI 1.7 - 13.44); p=0.003), while ART use reduced risk (p=0.014). A low CD4 count, an unsuppressed viral load and active TB were not predictors of delirium; nor were other previously reported risk factors such as non-opportunistic acute infections or polypharmacy.

Conclusions. Delirium is common and is associated with increased mortality in HIV-infected acute medical admissions in endemic settings, despite increased ART use. Older HIV-infected patients with renal dysfunction are at increased risk for inpatient delirium, while those using ART on admission have a reduced risk.


Authors' affiliations

C Day, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

K Manning, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

F Abdullah, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

K James, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

L Grace, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

C April, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

G Calligaro, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

M Combrink, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

P Raubenheimer, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

J G Peter, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Allergy and Immunology Unit, University of Cape Town Lung Institute, Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

HIV; Delirium; Sub-Saharan Africa; SSA; South Africa; Mortality; Risk factors; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder; HAND; Antiretrovirals; ARVs

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2021;111(10):974-980. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2021.v111i10.15628

Article History

Date submitted: 2021-10-05
Date published: 2021-10-05

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