Pre-Existing Psychiatric Illness Is Associated With an Increased Risk of Delirium in Patients With Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Saminder Singh Kalra, Johnny Jaber, Bashar N. Alzghoul, Ryan Hyde, Sarina Parikh, Daniel Urbine, Raju Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are highly susceptible to developing delirium for a multitude of reasons. Previous studies have linked pre-existing depression with an increased risk of postoperative delirium in patients undergoing cardiac and non-cardiac surgery. However, the evidence regarding the association between pre-existing psychiatric illnesses and delirium in ARDS patients is unknown. In this study, we aim to determine the relationship between pre-existing psychiatric illness and the risk of development of delirium amongst ARDS patients. Study Design and Methods: We performed a retrospective study of a mixed group of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) between January 2016 and December 2019 with a diagnosis of ARDS per the Berlin definition. The study group was divided into 2 cohorts: subjects with delirium and subjects without delirium. Comparison between the 2 groups was conducted to examine the impact of pre-existing psychiatric illnesses including major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed adjusting for benzodiazepine use, sedatives, analgesics, sequential organ failure assessment score, and corticosteroid use to determine the association between pre-existing psychiatric disorders and delirium. Results: 286 patients with ARDS were identified; 124 (43%) of whom were diagnosed with ICU delirium. In patients diagnosed with ICU delirium, 49.2% were found to have preexisting psychiatric illnesses, compared to 34.0% without any preexisting psychiatric illness (OR = 1.94, P = 0.01). In a subgroup analysis of individual psychiatric illnesses, GAD and MDD were associated with the development of delirium (OR = 1.88, P = 0.04 and OR = 1.76, P = 0.05 respectively). Interpretation: ARDS patients with preexisting psychiatric illnesses, particularly GAD and MDD are associated with an increased risk of developing ICU delirium. Clinicians should be aware of the effect of psychiatric co-morbidities on developing delirium in critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-654
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of intensive care medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • ARDS
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • anxiety
  • delirium
  • depression
  • psychiatric illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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