A systematic review of the risk factors and outcomes for delirium in acute burns

Dr Guy Stanley1, Mr Angus Barber3, Dr Aoife O’Brien1, Ms Cheryl Hamill1, Professor Fiona Wood2

1Fiona Stanley Hospital, Murdoch, Australia, 2Burns Service of Western Australia, Murdoch, Australia, 3Curtin University, Bentley, Australia


INTRODUCTION: Delirium is a fluctuating disorder of cognition and attention, which adversely affects patient outcomes. Significantly, it is the second most common Hospital-Acquired Complication, at the Burns Service of Western Australia. Although important risk factors have been elucidated including patient age and time in intensive care [1], the authors of this study remarked, through internal audit [2], that burns patients have unique characteristics. While multifactorial and complex, delirium in burns has not been characterised in the literature. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to perform a systematic review, to identify the risk factors for, and outcomes of, delirium in acute burns.

METHOD: A trainee research collaborative has recently been formed to investigate delirium. A protocol was designed for registration on the Prospero database, following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines (PRISMA 2020).

RESULTS & DISCUSSION: This study is ongoing and preliminary results will be discussed. Scoping searches were conducted. The study categorises risks according to:

– Patient factors.

– Injury factors.

– Interventional factors.

All patient outcomes are categorised. The review summarises the literature to date on delirium in acute burns, to aid burns clinicians in identifying and treating delirium. Furthermore, it discusses how burns patients may differ from those found in other surgical cohorts.


1. Wilson, J.E., Mart, M.F., Cunningham, C. et al. Delirium. Nat Rev Dis Primers 6, 90 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41572-020-00223-4

2. Governance, Evidence, Knowledge and Outcomes (GEKO) system, Western Australian Department of Health. Quality Activity 40414.


Adjunct Research Fellow at University of Western Australia

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