ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 169-176

The prevalence of emergence delirium and its associated factors among children at a postoperative unit: A retrospective cohort at a Middle Eastern hospital


1 King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences; King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Hariri School of Nursing, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
3 King Abdullah International Medical Research Center; Department of Anesthesia, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Abdulaleem Alatassi
Department of Anesthesia, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/sja.SJA_573_19

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Background: Emergence delirium (ED) has been reported among children at a postoperative setting, which delays their recovery and exposes them to traumas. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of ED and its associated factors among children who underwent surgeries at a major tertiary healthcare facility in Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: Between March and August 2018, a retrospective cohort study was conducted based on a review of 413 medical charts of children (<14 years) who underwent an elective/nonemergency surgery and then were admitted to a Post Anesthesia Care Unit. Patient and surgery-related characteristics were analyzed as potential factors associated with ED. The anxiety level was assessed preoperatively using the Modified Yale Preoperative Anxiety Scale (four domains), while the ED was detected after surgery using the Watcha scale (child is agitated and thrashing around). Results: The leading surgery category was ear, nose, and throat surgeries [184 (44.6%)] and dental surgeries [109 (26.4%)]. Almost one-third received only general anesthesia (31.2%), while 271 (68.8%) received an additional regional block/skin infiltrate. The anxiety domains preop showed that the percentage mean score ± standard deviation of expression of emotions was 37.1 ± 21.6, apparent arousal 33.7 ± 20.4, activeness 30.1 ± 13.5, and vocalization 26.9 ± 20.3. The prevalence of ED among children who underwent surgeries during the 6-month period was 23 (6.6%). Almost 18.8% of those who received opioid analgesics (fentanyl alone) developed ED, while 12% of those who received both opioid and nonopioid analgesics (fentanyl/paracetamol) developed ED. ED was significantly associated with longer recovery duration 69.5 + 27.1 min, P = 0.007. Binary logistics regression analysis showed that participants who did not receive Precedex were adj. odds ratio = 10.3 (2.4–48.9) times more likely to develop ED, compared with those who received it, adj. P = 0.003. Lower preoperative scores of expression of emotions and higher scores of apparent arousal were significantly associated with ED, adj. P = 0.035 and adj. P = 0.023, respectively. Conclusion: ED appears to be inevitable in postoperative settings. It is crucial to address any preoperative anxiety assessment as it is associated with ED. Anxiety remains a modifiable factor that can be managed, as well as to the administration of Precedex and adjunct analgesic treatments.


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